LG Chem said Monday that it would inject 65 billion won ($53 million) to boost its carbon nanotubes production manufacturing capability. The move came as the company sees more applications in global end-use industries such as electric vehicles, electronics, and polymers.
LG Chem said the decision to increase the company’s production capability would strengthen its global competitiveness. The company added that it would aggressively adopt the next-generation material in the production of lithium-ion batteries.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are an effective buffering component that could improve the capacity and cyclability of lithium-ion batteries. Highly metallic carbon nanotubes could significantly improve electronic transport in anodes.
Global demand for the CNTs in the EV market is expected to grow with a 34 percent annual rate reaching 13,000 tons in 2024.
CNTs are allotropes of carbon with superior electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties than those of existing materials. CNTs’ are key material for the production of semiconductors, lithium-ion batteries, EV parts, aerospace parts, etc.
Growing Carbon Nanotube Market
LG Chem said it would direct the investment into its factory located at Yeosu in Jeolla Province. The company would increase the annual production of CNTs from 500 tons to 1,700 tons by March next year.
Global market research firm, Grand View Research, said that the global market for CNTs would reach 3.9 trillion won ($3.2 billion) by 2022 and would continue to increase steadily.
Currently, LG Chem operates five EV battery factories in South Korea, the United States, China, and Poland. All plants have a combined capacity of 70 gigawatt-hours.
LG Chem plans to expand sales to automotive OEMs and global IT materials companies in Europe, North America, and China.
LG Chem, in 2011, started its R&D to develop proprietary CNT technologies and, in 2013, constructed a 20-ton pilot mass production line. The company currently possesses over 250 patents in the CNT-related markets.