Carbon nanotube (CNT) materials have about the same level of electricity and thermal conductivity as copper and diamond and are about 100 times stronger than steel. Data cited by LG Chem showed that the demand for carbon nanotubes in the global EV market is projected to skyrocket to 13,000 tons in 2024 from about 3,000 tons in 2019.
LG Chem said in a statement that the construction for its fourth CNT factory began in South Chungcheong Province, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Seoul. The plant with a production capacity of 3,200 tons would start its operation in 2025. LG Chem's CNT materials would be used at battery makers including LG Energy Solution as conductive additives for cathodes to help the flow of electricity and electrons.
"With the nation's largest CNT production capacity, we will continue building a strong competitive advantage in the battery materials sector and actively explore new business opportunities by moving faster than our competitors," LG Chem's petrochemical business head Noh Kug-lae said in a statement on May 31. The company said its third CNT plant in the southwestern port city of Yeosu recently began its operation.
According to market research firm Allied Market Research, the global CNT market size which stood at $15.3 billion in 2017 is expected to reach $103.2 billion by 2030. The application of CNT materials is gaining momentum in various industries including polymers, electronics, aerospace, and automotive.
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