Toyo Ink SC Holdings Co., Ltd., the parent company of the Tokyo-based specialty chemicals group Toyo Ink Group, has announced that, on January 6, 2023, it newly established a manufacturing subsidiary, LioChem e-Materials LLC, for the production of Lioaccum™ conductive carbon nanotube (CNT) dispersions used in lithium-ion battery (LiB) cathodes. The Lioaccum dispersion is a key material for increasing LiB capacity and for extending the cruising range of electric vehicles (EVs) in particular luxury automobiles. Established in Franklin, Kentucky in the United States, LioChem e-Materials is Toyo Ink SC Holdings’ second production base for conductive CNT dispersions in North America. The new manufacturing facility is scheduled to come on stream in 2025 with plans to gradually raise the Group’s U.S. production capacity to four times the current level.
In August 2021, a US presidential executive order had set a goal that 50 percent of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 be zero-emission vehicles. As the shift to carbon- free mobility accelerates, a series of major investment plans for EVs and automotive battery plants have been announced by major players in the automotive LiB industry. Due to these circumstances, the production capacity of automotive batteries in the U.S. is forecasted to grow to more than eight times the 2022 level by 2030.
The Toyo Ink Group has a proven track record on the global stage in the fast-growing battery materials sector. In 2021, South Korean battery manufacturer SK On adopted Lioaccum dispersions supplied by Toyo Ink’s wholly-owned subsidiary LioChem Inc. in Georgia, USA. While the Group had been investing in production expansion of the Georgia facility, its current supply could not keep up with the rapid rise in local demand. To meet the projected future needs of its customers, Toyo Ink SC Holdings concluded a joint venture with Inabata & Co., Ltd., a LiB materials business partner with the Toyo Ink Group, holding a minority interest.
“The establishment of our second factory in the U.S. allows us to support the long-term growth of our customers in North America,” explains Hideki Okaichi, executive operating officer of Toyo Ink SC Holdings. “Lioaccum has received high marks as a high-performance dispersion for high-end automobiles, as evidenced by its adoption by the U.S. and European operations of SK ON and the world’s largest automotive battery manufacturer CATL. We’re committed to making further improvements in battery performance and to growing our battery materials business into a core pillar of operations, as we work to further realize a low-carbon society created by the widespread use of EVs on a global scale.”