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GNS Science and Resene Paints have teamed up to develop a hi-tech roof paint containing nano-particles that will be more effective than existing coating products at reflecting summer heat and keeping buildings cooler in summer.
The joint project will develop a new low-cost way of producing a powder containing metal oxide nanoparticles that can be readily incorporated with existing paint manufacturing methods. Once the technology is perfected for roof coatings, it is likely to be available for other applications such as marine and automotive coating products, said project leader John Kennedy of GNS Science.
The project has received Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment funding of NZ$450,000/yr for two years to help establish New Zealand as a leader in ‘cool coating technology’. Resene is contributing NZ$100,000 ‘in-kind’ support. Infra-red reflective coatings are currently available but they are expensive, only partly effective and come in a small colour range.
"The global market for coloured coatings with infra-red reflective pigments is valued at US$250M/yr and it is growing at about 12% annually,” Dr Kennedy said.
"Improvements in reflectance will translate into much greater value for consumers due to reduced energy bills, lower maintenance and replacements costs, plus a larger colour range.”
GNS Science has designed and built a prototype chamber that produces the reflective powder containing metallic oxide nano-particles. Quantities produced are small but enough to allow continued development of the technology.
Once the process is perfected it would be easy to scale up production to supply commercial quantities of the powder, Dr Kennedy said.
"Producing the powder is the easy part. The main focus of our research at present is perfecting a chemical process that will modify the powder so it mixes evenly in the paint and will result in a coating that reflects evenly across an entire surface.”
It was hoped trials of the new production process would be completed by late 2014 and commercial production could start as early as 2015.