One thing is sure with this Covid-19, it deeply questions our lifestyles, our habits. Only a few months ago, talking about anti-bacterial paints, outside the specialized press, was part of investigative journalism, today it is almost obvious. We take stock with Stéphane Pénari, founder of MetalSkin Technologies.
An antimicrobial paint, concretely how does it work?
MetalSkin® is a copper-filled composite paint that can be used to coat complex surfaces and different materials (metals, plastics, etc.). Once activated, the surface of this paint has the same biocidal properties as copper and therefore eliminates the microorganisms on it.
When did you have the idea to develop this type of product?
We made a toilet seat in pure copper for a clinical study and it reminded me that my grandfather, on the ridge of his small barn in the Tarn, was stretching a bare electrical cable to prevent, via rainwater runoff, mosses from developing on the roof. My grandfather was therefore familiar with the virtues of copper and its action on surfaces.I bounced back on this idea and pushed the reasoning further by integrating notions of cost and aesthetics… which led to a large-scale in situ study and, subsequently, the filing of patents. That was in 2013.
Do you already have a lot of requests for information?
Enormously! After spending almost 10 years explaining to anyone who would listen that surfaces are a potential hazard because you can’t tell if they are properly disinfected or if the hands that touch them are properly cleaned. Today, because of the Covid-19, everyone is aware of this and we realize that we are surrounded by risk areas: in our workplace, in public transport, in public places and, of course, in health establishments. So, for the past two months, all the players in these sectors have been trying to protect themselves and the occupants of the places concerned. Moreover, if we want great efficiency at a moderate cost… I must say that we are certainly being asked to study the question.
Will this type of paint become the new standard?
My vision from the beginning was that in the future people will wonder how we managed to evolve in unsafe environments at the surface level… in the same way that a car without ABS would seem completely obsolete today. In addition, AFNOR has created a standard, NF S90-700, which characterizes the bactericidal effectiveness of surfaces (soon to be extended to virucidal and fungicidal activity). This standard, which seems to me to be completely indispensable and coherent, must be imposed in public places by the State. So, indirectly, MetalSkin®, as a bactericidal paint, will be a form of standard undeniably.