Expansions: Toray to expand carbon fibre capacity in US and South Korea; Nova to build recycling plant for PE in Indiana

Toray to expand carbon fibre capacity in US and South Korea

Japan’s Toray Industries plans to increase regular tow carbon fibre production capacity at two facilities. Capital investments will add lines to the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, US of Toray Composite Materials America, Inc. and the Gumi plant in Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea of Toray Advanced Materials Korea Inc. These investments will increase the Toray Group’s annual capacity by over 20% to 35,000 tonnes beginning in 2025.

These important capacity increases are in response to the market situation in the US and Korea, where demand for pressure vessel applications is rising. Fuelled by the ongoing clean energy revolution in hydrogen, natural gas, and other industrial applications, these expansions target high-strength carbon fibres up to 24,000 filaments per tow. The capacity increases will also complement total supply for other core markets such as aviation.

Toray anticipates demand for regular tow carbon fibre to expand by 17% annually on a decarbonisation megatrend. The decarbonisation megatrend signals the growing demand for compressed natural gas delivery vehicles and gas transportation tanks, increasing the need for compressed natural gas, hydrogen tanks, and other pressure vessel applications. This trend will also increase the adoption of regular tow carbon fibre for passenger cars, trucks, trains, and ships that utilise fuel cells.

Nova to build recycling plant for PE in Indiana

In other news, Canadian chemicals firm Nova Chemicals Corporation says it has made a significant expansion of its Circular Solutions business by announcing an investment into developing its first mechanical recycling facility in Connersville, Indiana. The facility will process post-consumer plastic films to produce the company’s Syndigo recycled polyethylene (rPE) at commercial scale as early as 2025, delivering over 100 million pounds of rPE to the market by 2026.

Nova adds it plans to expand its recycling footprint over the next several years to help it reach its industry-leading 2030 ambition of 30% recycled content as a share of its total PE sales.

The company recently announced its 2030 Roadmap to Sustainability Leadership aspirations, including its anticipated investment of between US$2-4 billion by 2030 to expand its sustainable product offerings, decarbonise its assets, and build a mechanical recycling business while exploring new advanced recycling technologies.

The facility will employ approximately 125 people and be one of Connersville’s largest private employers. Connersville was strategically selected because of its access to abundant feedstock supply of post-consumer films from nearby metropolitan areas, and easy-to-access rail service for distributing rPE to Nova’s customers.

The facility will be operated by Novolex Holdings – a developer of packaging products for foodservice and industrial markets – leveraging its more than 15 years’ experience in operating plastic film recycling facilities.

Novolex Chairman/CEO, Stanley Bikulege, said, “Indiana has long been a hub for sustainability, innovation, and business. The new plant will build on our experience of operating both our North Vernon plastics recycling facility in Indiana and our recycling plant in Wisconsin as well as accelerate our commitment to support recycling and the circular economy.”


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