Campion Boats and Ashland Performance Materials
Building Earth-Friendly Boats
The largest boat manufacturer in Canada is now building boats from the ground up, so to speak. Campion started down this unpaved road nearly three years ago, when it agreed to test a new resin called Envirez from Ashland. The resin, which replaces petroleum with soy oil, was first used to build two sample boats, both 20-ish bowriders.
“There were jokes that if the tests didn’t work out we could eat the boats,” says Campion designer Peter Wingfield. “We weren’t holding our breath.”
The boats were abused on Lake Okanagan near Campion’s factory in Kelowna, British Columbia. If the hulls didn’t hold up to two seasons of tests, then Envirez wouldn’t make the menu on a single Campion boat. The verdict? Campion is now building all 37 of its boat models with Envirez.
Engineers at the National Marine Manufacturers Association have told Boating they’re excited about the prospects for Envirez. Each 38,000-pound batch of the bio-based resin eliminates the use of 10 barrels of crude oil, with soy and corn in its place. Envirez also reduces the amount of styrene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted during construction, making for a healthier working environment.
Now that Campion is all in, as many as 10 boatbuilders are testing Envirez. “I’m betting they’ll see the benefit of a better product and a smaller environmental footprint,” says Ashland’s product manager, Bob Moffit. And we’re betting he won’t have to eat his words. — R.S.