Japan and Germany Will Have Larger Carbon Nanotube Factories

Showa Denko KK (SDK) has developed VGCFTM-X, a new grade of SDK carbon nanotube with an optimized design for resin composite applications. The company will begin construction of a 400-ton-a-year VGCFTM-X plant at its Oita Complex in March, 2009. The plant, due to start up in 2010, will have a leading cost-competitive position since it can fully utilize the existing utilities at the Oita Complex.

Bayer MaterialScience has begun work on the construction of a new facility for the production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in Chempark Leverkusen. The new plant will have a capacity of 200 tons/year, making it the largest of its kind in the world. The company is to invest around EUR 22 million in the planning, development and construction of the plant, which will create 20 new jobs.

Current forecasts predict that the global market for carbon nanotubes will grow by 25 percent a year. In ten years, annual sales of these products are expected to reach US-Dollar 2 billion.

Future developments in the field of CNT-based materials are to focus on applications involving energy and the environment, mobility and lightweight construction. A total of EUR 80 million will be invested in research and development as part of Inno.CT, of which the BMBF will contribute about EUR 40 million. In addition, the participating companies want to invest up to EUR 200 million in the further development of these technologies and applications during the course of the projects and also after their conclusion.

Up until 2008, production of carbon nanotubes has reached about 100-200 tons/year.

Depending on the success of the 200 ton/year plant, the Bayertubes vision is to have 3,000 metric tons of capacity in place by 2011.