Mazda's New Paint System Cuts VOC Emissions by 57 Percent

Mazda's New Paint System Cuts VOC Emissions by 57 Percent

Mazda began using a new paint system at a Japanese facility that it claims carries the smallest environmental footprint of any water-based paint system being used today.

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Called Aqua-tech, the paint system generates 15 grams of volatile organic compound emissions per square meter of vehicle body surface -- a 57 percent reduction compared to Mazda’s current Three Layer Wet Paint System.
Mazda introduced its new Aqua-tech paint system introduced in Japan this week, which carries a smaller environmental footprint compared to its predecessor.

All images courtesy of Mazda
When Mazda introduced its Three Layer Wet Paint System seven years ago, it was considered a breakthrough technology for its cuts in VOC emissions and CO2 emissions.

Although the Aqua-tech system generates 57 percent fewer VOC emissions than the Three Layer Wet Paint process, there are no futher reductions to CO2 emissions through the process.

Mazda's new Aqua-tech paint system further reduces VOC emissions compared to its Three Layer Wet Paint system (above) currently used in Japan.

All images courtesy of Mazda

Water-based paints have a lower VOC content than solvent-based paints, therefore generating fewer emissions. Using water-based paints, however, is generally more carbon-intensive because evaporating the water and drying the paint in the baking process requires a lot of energy.

The Aqua-tech system uses a series of new technologies that improve efficiency of the painting process and reduce VOC emissions while keeping CO2 emissions low: a better paint shop air-conditioning system; an evaporation system to remove water from the paint; and new top coat paints that consolidate the coating process.

The Aqua-tech paint system is now being used at its Ujina Plant No. 1 near the company’s corporate headquarters in Hiroshima. The development is part of the company’s overarching environmental plan called “sustainable Zoom-Zoom.” The company reduced the fuel efficiency of its cars 30 percent between 2001 and 2008, and plans to improve efficiency another 30 percent by 2015 as part of the initiative.

All images courtesy of Mazda.