Bio Hard Carbon Co., Ltd. (“BHC”; Headquarters: Bizen, Okayama Prefecture; President: Nobuo Iwawaki) has completed the construction of its manufacturing factory for Biocarbotron, a plant-based hard carbon anode material for lithium-ion batteries (“LiB”), and held a completion ceremony on April 8, 2014.
1. Background for the BIOCARBOTRON factory
- Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd (Headquarters: Osaka City; President: Yasuhiro Yamamoto) and Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd. (“KBMJ”; Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Hideo Nakatani) established BHC as a joint venture on August 22, 2012, for the production of plant-based hard carbon.
- The Kureha Group owns production technology for petroleum pitch-based hard carbon anode material for LIB for automotive use. Hard carbon demonstrates superior performance in durability and charge-discharge properties, compared with a conventional graphite anode used in consumer-grade LiBs.
- BIOCARBOTRON was jointly developed by Kureha and Kuraray, which has expertise in refining plant-based raw materials.
- While the expansion of the LiB market has been largely due to consumer-use applications such as mobile phones and laptop computers, in recent years there is a rapid growth in LiB demand for automotive applications, particularly for hybrid and electric vehicles.
- In addition to the petroleum pitch-based hard carbon anode material, CARBOTRON P, currently manufactured for automotive sector, KBMJ aims to expand its product lineup and accelerate user recognition of BIOCARBOTRON, through its 1000 ton semi-commercial production.
- The companies plan to further expand production capacity to meet expansion in the market of hard carbon anodes for automobiles.
2. Outline of the Completion Ceremony
|Date ||April 8, 2014 |
|Attendees || |
|Kuraray Co., Ltd. President, Fumio Ito |
|Kureha Corporation President, Yutaka Kobayashi |
|Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd. President, YasuhiroYamamoto |
|Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd. President, Hideo Nakatani |
|Bio Hard Carbon Co., Ltd. President, Nobuo Iwawaki |
|And a total of 60 other guests |
3. Overview of the new BHC factory for plant-based hard carbon
|Location ||4342 Tsurumi, Bizen, Okayama Prefecture (on the grounds of Kuraray Chemical’s Tsurumi Plant) |
|Production capacity ||1,000 tons annually in the first stage |
|Capital investment ||Approx. ¥3 billion |
BHC’s new factory
- Background for the New Factory
- December 2011
- Kuraray Co., Ltd. (Kuraray) and Kureha Corporation (Kureha) agree on a basic framework to jointly commercialize newly developed LiB anode material.
The outline of agreement was for Kuraray to take a partial stake in KBMJ and supply personnel, while KBMJ and Kuraray Chemical establish a new joint production company and set up a production and supply network with an annual capacity level of 1,000 tons by the end of 2013.
- July 2012
- A formal agreement for capital participation in KBMJ is reached; Kuraray and the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (“INCJ”) will newly acquire equity stakes alongside previous participants Kureha and Itochu Corporation (“Itochu”).
- August 2012
- Kuraray Chemical and KBMJ establish BHC as a joint venture production company.
Based on the agreement reached in July, capital participation was completed by Kuraray, Kureha, Itochu and INCJ.
Overview of Bio Hard Carbon Co., Ltd.
|Company name ||Bio Hard Carbon Co., Ltd. |
|Representative ||Nobuo Iwawaki (Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd.) |
|Capital ||¥100 million (50% owned by Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd., 50% owned by Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd.) |
|Established ||August 22, 2012 |
|Principal businesses ||Production of plant-based hard carbon for LiBs |
|Headquarters ||4342 Tsurumi, Bizen, Okayama Prefecture (on the grounds of Kuraray Chemical’s Tsurumi Plant) |
Overview of Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd.
|Company name ||Kuraray Chemical Co., Ltd. |
|Representative ||Yasuhiro Yamamoto |
|Capital ||¥600 million (100% owned by Kuraray Co., Ltd.) |
|Established ||December 11, 1940 |
|Principal businesses ||Production and sale of activated carbon and other chemicals |
|Headquarters ||39F Umeda Hankyu Bldg. Office Tower, 8-1 Kakuda-cho, Kita-ku, Osaka |
Overview of Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd.
|Company name ||Kureha Battery Materials Japan Co., Ltd. |
|Representative ||Hideo Nakatani |
|Capital ||¥1,039 million |
(50.1% owned by Kureha Corporation, 20% owned by Itochu Corporation, 20% owned by Kuraray Co., Ltd, 9.9% owned by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan)
|Established ||April 5, 2011 |
|Principal businesses ||Production and sale of anode materials for LiBs, sale of LiB binders |
|Headquarters ||3-3-2, Nihonbashi-Hamacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8552 |