Dr. Richard Lobo, Business Excellence, Tata Chemicals
Tata Chemicals has recently entered into production of Nano Zinc Oxide (nZnO), an essential component in daily lives of consumers. Nano Zinc Oxide, known to exhibit a strong antimicrobial activity against harmful bacteria and fungi, has successfully deployed nZnO formulation, in alliance with a customer, in face masks used by healthcare workers and consumers. The product is being utilised as a preventive measure for impeding the transmission of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pravin Prashant, Editor, Indian Chemical News in an exclusive interview with Dr. Richard Lobo, Head – Corporate Strategy & Business Excellence, Tata Chemicals talks about market size of Nano Zinc Oxide, probable use cases of nZnO, investment made by Tata Chemicals and market that the company is planning to capture. Excerpts of the interview:
Properties of Nano Zinc Oxide and its probable use cases
Tata Chemicals, over its 80+ years of history, has been at the forefront of serving society through science. Nano Zinc Oxide is born out of this mission. The product was developed at our innovation centre as a part of the focus on developing nano-materials that deliver distinctive value and performance. Our nZnO product offers anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-viral and UV blocking properties and hence finds application across sectors from industrial to cosmetic products including paints/coatings, adhesives, plastics and personal care products.
The purpose of engineering this product stems from the need a decade ago to replace organic UV blockers in paint, cosmetics and various applications because of their harmful side effects and poor durability. Our scientists realised the potential of working on Zinc Oxide which is used in these applications and developing a nano-material version of the Zinc oxide which would retain the primary properties but could also provide additional value such as water dispersion and anti-microbial/anti-fungal properties to the applications.
Paints & Polymers: Functionalized nano zinc oxide a multifunctional ingredient used in paints and polymers, stands apart from the bulk variant because of its fine powder form that has higher surface area and higher absorption cross-section of UV rays at lower dosages which ensures the preservation of colour and gloss.
Cosmetics & Personal Care: Tata Chemicals’ Zing C and ZnSpers variants, free from heavy metal impurities, when used in cosmetics and personal care products act as SPF booster that blocks harmful UVA, UVB sun rays and also act as antimicrobial agents. Made at room temperature reaction, nano zinc oxide can be made compatible with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic media applications and is available in both micro-fine powder and dispersible solution to suit varied needs of our customers.
Textile/Apparel Industry: Tata Chemicals’ patented process of nZnO has resulted in a new variant called Zingtex that can be used in textile applications. The smaller particle size, higher surface area, antimicrobial properties and high hydrophobicity activity of Zingtex delivers a one-of a kind stain-repellent fabric.
Market size for Nano Zinc Oxide within India and outside India
As per reports, the global nano zinc oxide market was valued at $2.1 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $7.7 billion by 2022. The Indian market is still at an evolving stage of adopting nano-materials across sectors and applications, though we witness healthy adoption in paints & coatings, cosmetics and personal care. Rapid industrialization along with increase in investments in these industries has fuelled the growth of the market.
Cosmetics segment appears to be the most attractive market for the industry players owing to increased purchasing power in the emerging economies and growth in awareness among the consumers regarding adverse effects of UV rays. Factors such as age, location or socioeconomic background plays a vital role in the cosmetic industry. Functionality of nano zinc oxide in cosmetic and personal care is highest due to their exceptional physio-chemical properties. Rising inclination of manufacturers to use soluble and biodegradable nano emulsions in cosmetics will positively influence the nano zinc oxide market growth.
Nanoparticles are now popularly used in every personal care product available in market, including shampoo, deodorant, sunscreens, soaps, toothpaste, hair conditioner, perfume, foundation, lipstick and after-shave lotion owing to increasing demand for sun protection cosmetics. Minimal regulatory constraints and limited health impacts is increasing its implementation in skincare and medical products. Huge expenditure in research & innovation and highly formulated industrial chemicals produced in developed nations will escalate the product demand.
Nano Zinc Oxide to be used for fighting against COVID-19 pandemic
As everyone fights this global pandemic and health crisis, taking steps to prevent the transmission of coronavirus is critical. The use of protective gear such as face masks and PPE kits as a precautionary measure is not just restricted to the medical fraternity but is mandatory for every individual since the spread of virus can be reduced if everyone, including people who have been infected but are asymptomatic and contagious use masks.
Nano Zinc Oxide (nZnO) is well known to exhibit a strong antimicrobial property against various microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi due to its small size and large surface area.
As the pandemic hit the country, we began to examine whether our grades can serve as protective layers given the antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. We have deployed our nZnO formulation, in alliance with a customer, which is being used in face masks and trials are on for use in PPEs.
Market that Tata Chemicals is planning to capture
Currently, our focus is on strengthening our customer base across sectors such as cosmetics, paints, plastic & polymers and textiles.
Investment made by Tata Chemicals for manufacturing Nano Zinc Oxide
Given this is a specialty performance material; we focus on manufacturing with high precision to meet customer specifications. The annual capacity ranges to a few tons depending on the sector being served. Tata Chemicals believes in serving the society by science led innovative products, and we will continue to strive for delivering superior quality products that will help improve the final product delivered.
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