Asahi Kasei Corp. (Tokyo, Japan; www.asahi-kasei.co.jp) will enhance its manufacturing infrastructure for Lithium-ion battery (LIB) separator products — including the Hipore LIB separator (wet process) and Celgard LIB separator (dry process) product lines — with completion scheduled for the first half of fiscal 2021. The investment for this project is around ¥30 billion (around $270 million).
Rapid growth of the LIB market is primarily driven by automotive applications due to increasing demand for electric-drive vehicles and by energy storage systems (ESS) due to greater adoption of renewable power sources. Asahi Kasei, the world’s leading LIB separator manufacturer, supplying both wet-process and dry-process separators with its Hipore and Celgard products, has been proactively expanding this business.
LIB separator production capacity will be expanded at the company’s existing facilities in Moriyama, Shiga, Japan, and North Carolina.
By streamlining and consolidation of existing production facilities and product grades, these measures will result in a 300 million m2/year rise in wet-process capacity and a 150 million m2/year rise in dry-process capacity, for a total increase of 450 million m2/year.
Asahi Kasei’s total LIB separator capacity will be 730 million m2/year at the end of fiscal 2019, including wet-process capacity of 410 million m2/year and dry-process capacity of 320 million m2/year. Plant expansions currently in progress will raise total capacity to 1.1 billion m2/year upon completion in fiscal 2020, with wet-process capacity increasing to 700 million m2/year and dry-process capacity increasing to 400 million m2/year.
Completion of the measures announced will further raise Asahi Kasei’s total LIB separator capacity to 1.55 billion m2/year in fiscal 2021, with wet-process capacity increasing to 1 billion m2/year and dry-process capacity increasing to 550 million m2/year.
In accordance with forthcoming demand trends, Asahi Kasei intends to raise its total LIB separator capacity, including both wet and dry processes, to 3 billion m2/year around 2025 in order to meet the growing needs of customers.
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