SABIC to pursue carbon fiber manufacturing, AKSA to add second line

SABIC assessing way forward to make carbon fiber; AKSA is adding a 1,700-metric-tonne carbon fiber line.

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Representatives of SABIC (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) attended CompositesWorld’s Carbon Fiber 2010 conference in La Jolla, Calif., Dec. 7-9, and reported that SABIC’s recently founded strategic business unit Performance Chemicals is in the midst of a concerted effort to enter the carbon fiber business, based on its previously announced acrylonitrile (AN) feedstock basis. No decision on technologies or precursor has been taken yet and SABIC reports that it is investigating all possible options. SABIC is a strong player in thermoplastic materials as well as in certain industrial market segments, like the automotive and industrial applications. SABIC says it believes carbon fiber could strengthen the company’s position in these application areas.

Meanwhile, carbon fiber manufacturer AKSA Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.S. (Istanbul, Turkey) announced on Dec. 17 that it is spending $65 million (USD) to build a second carbon fiber production line with nominal capacity of 1,700 metric tonnes (3.75 million lb) per year, to be commissioned by July 2012. In addition, AKSA will spend $7 million to increase the production capacity of its existing carbon fiber production line by 300 metric tonnes (661,400 lb) per year to 1,800 metric tonnes (3.96 million lb). AKSA, the world’s largest producer of acrylic, a key part of the precursor for carbon fiber, manufactures 3K to 24K tow standard modulus carbon fiber, primarily for the industrial market. AKSA reports that its goal is to achieve 10 percent market share in carbon fiber by 2020.