Report: Teijin to expand carbon fiber production for oil/gas and automotive markets

Bloomberg reports that carbon fiber manufacturer Teijin is planning to expand its U.S. operations to meet demand for cars and storage tanks for natural gas.

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Bloomberg reported on Dec. 12 that carbon fiber manufacturer Teijin Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) is considering plans to expand capacity in the U.S. to meet demand for cars and storage tanks for natural gas.

The report says Teijin plans to increase its global output by about 36 percent to 18,900 metric tons a year by 2016, according to executive vice president Norio Kamei said in an interview in Tokyo. It may expand its Tennessee factory or build a new 5,000-­ton facility.

The report says one of the drivers of the growth in North America is natural gas from shale rock. Carbon fiber is used in the manufacture of filament-wound pressure vessels used to store and transport natural gas. It’s used in Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus LFA sports car and Teijin is working with General Motors Co. (GM) on technology that cuts carbon fiber molding time and costs to enable mass production, Kamei told Bloomberg.

“Carbon fiber will play a bigger role in manufacturing to cut weight and conserve energy as we move toward a low­carbon society,” Kamei said in the Dec. 10 interview with Bloomberg. “We expect the auto industry to be a bigger customer from 2015 onward.”

The report says Teijin aims to boost annual sales from carbon fiber composites to as much as ¥200 billion ($2.4 billion USD) by 2020, he said.

Visit Bloomberg for original report.