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Mitsubishi Rayon to double capacity at US carbon fibre plant

Japanese fibre producer Mitsubishi Rayon is planning to double its US carbon fibre manufacturing capacity as worldwide demand for carbon fibre increases at an annual rate of more than 20% for industrial applications

3rd July 2014

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Sacramento, CA

Transport/​Aerospace, Civil Engineering, Industrial

Hitoshi Ochi, President and CEO of Japan’s Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. (MRC) has announced that the company will expand production capacity of its carbon fibre plant at Mitsubishi Rayon Carbon Fiber and Composites, Inc. (MRCFAC) in the USA.

MRCFAC plans to install new facilities capable of making 2,000 tons of carbon fibre per annum at its existing site in Sacramento, CaliforniaMRCFAC plans to install new facilities capable of making 2,000 tons of carbon fibre per annum at its existing site in Sacramento, California. The site expansion, scheduled to be completed by mid 2016, will double the annual production capacity of currently 2,000 tons up to 4,000 tons.

Through development and adoption of renewable energy technology including wind-generated electricity and lightweight solution technology that improve fuel efficiency to extend driving distance of electric vehicles,

According to MRC, among industrial applications, carbon fibre reinforced pressure vessels are becoming widely used for CNG (compressed natural gas) fuel tanks as well as large-scale CNG transporting vessels.

In particular, Mitsubishi rayon says, large buses and trucks proceed with fuel conversion toward CNG; all due to the increased cost efficiency of using natural gas partly attributed to shale gas development and the tightening of automobile exhaust gas regulations.

And, the company adds, there are other related industrial applications. For example, fuel tanks to carry high-pressure hydrogen gas for Fuel Cell Vehicles, which are anticipated to be the ultimate eco-car, and storage tanks installed at hydrogen stations will utilize carbon fibre, too.

In this way, MRC says, carbon fibre, a material that is directly associated with production and consumption of clean energy, is expected to further grow in demand to 2020.

MRC will utilize MRCFAC as production centre of high performance regular tow carbon fibre to serve the growing demand in the North American market. MRC will continue the further expansion of value chains related to industrial applications including pressure vessels, windmills, and automobiles.

In May this year BMW Group and SGL Carbon Fibres announced they would invest a further $200 million to triple capacity at their JV carbon fibre plant in Moses Lake, WA, USA to meet high demand for the material in automotive production. See - BMW and SGL JV to triple carbon fibre capacity.

And in February, Japanese fibre giant Toray announced it would invest $1 billion in a new US carbon fibre facility for the aerospace industry. Toray, one of the world's largest producers of carbon fibre and Boeing supplier, plans to invest the money over the next ten years and hire 500 employees at a brand new carbon fibre manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. See - Toray to invest $1 billion in US carbon fibre facility

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