Bayer building big plant to churn out nanotubes

January 29, 2009: Bayer MaterialScience is building a new facility in Germany that could churn out up to 200 tons of carbon nanotubes a year, making it the largest nanotube factory in the world, according to a company news release.

The company said it will invest around $29 million on the project, which should create about 20 jobs.

“We are investing in a key technology of the future that will open up a broad range of new applications for us,” said Bayer AG board member Wolfgang Plischke. According to the company, the global market for carbon nanotubes will grow by 25% a year. In 10 years, Bayer said, annual carbon nanotube sales are expected to reach $2 billion.

In December, the US Environmental Protection Agency gave Bayer MaterialScience regulatory approval to sell its multiwall carbon nanotubes — what it calls Baytubes — in the United States. The approval covered Baytubes C 150 P and HP grades, produced in a plant in Laufenburg, Germany with an annual capacity of 60 metric tons.

Baytubes can be added to polymer matrices or metal systems as a modifier or filler to improve their mechanical strength and/or antistatic properties, and are already used in epoxy, thermoplastic and coating systems, according to the company.

Bayer board member Wolfgang Plischke and German research minister Thomas Rachel pose with a model and a sample of carbon nanotubes. (Photo courtesy of Bayer MaterialScience)


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