DropWise, founded in 2014, is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. The start-up company has developed technology, intellectual property and lab-scale manufacturing know-how for a novel method of hydrophobic coating applications. Henkel says the partnership will enable it to further expand its position in the global surface treatment business and drive growth with new applications.
“Collaborating with promising start-ups that provide access to cutting-edge future technologies is an integral part of our innovation strategy,” explains Mike Olosky, Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Head of Innovation & New Business Development, Henkel Adhesive Technologies. “Together with DropWise we can combine their unique technologies with our global market access and know-how in coatings to generate profitable growth for both partners in the future.”
The global coatings market is rapidly changing with increasing demands for new technologies that offer additional functionalities and improved sustainability. Henkel Adhesive Technologies is aiming to drive the transition as first mover and to meet future customer requirements at an early stage. DropWise´s innovation will enable a durable polymer surface with unique properties that offers improved heat transfer.
The DropWise application process is based on an initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) technique which allows the coating to be applied for OEM or retrofit applications. Using just a very small amount of polymer precursors, a chemical reaction is carried out that covalently grafts an ultra-thin polymer film to any metal surface, such as stainless steel, titanium, copper, aluminum, and even polymers and ceramics. One example use of DropWise’s hydrophobic coating is in condensing heat exchangers, where the technology increases the efficiency by eliminating the insulating film of liquid that typically builds up on the surface. Target applications include industrial heat exchangers such as steam condensers in power plants, heating-ventilation and automotive air-conditioning as well as chemical processes. Increasing the efficiency of these systems allows for reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and coolant water use, particularly for thermal power plants, which are the largest contributors to global emissions and second largest consumers of water.
“We are very excited to be partnering with a global leader in metal surface treatment,” says Adam Paxson, CEO of DropWise. “Henkel’s deep technical expertise and strong track record of bringing new innovations to their customers will enable us to fast-track commercialisation in key market areas.”
DropWise is commercialising the technology out of two laboratories at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which has a strong track record of bringing material science-based innovation to the market. Henkel Adhesive Technologies is working closely with MIT to directly interact with start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Photos provided by Henkel.