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New Mobility, Clean Energy Drive Carbon Fiber Investment in Europe

Image courtesy of Toray Carbon Fibers Europe carbon fiber
Japan’s Toray to invest around €100 million in capacity expansion in southwestern France.

European market leader Toray Carbon Fibers Europe will invest about €100 million ($104 million) to build a new production line at its plant in southwest France. This investment will enable the company to meet growing demand for high-performance carbon fiber in France and other European countries.

The new line will be able to produce a range of carbon fibers offering superior mechanical performance, said the company, adding that these premium products meet the requirements of high-tech industries such as new mobility, renewable energy, nuclear power, and aerospace.

Construction will commence in the second half of 2023, with production expected to start at the end of 2025. Providing up to 1,000 tonnes/year of additional capacity, this investment will also generate about 50 new jobs at the plant.

“This investment demonstrates our shareholders’ recognition of the excellence of our products and their confidence in us as a company. It will also allow us to reinforce and secure our know-how in France,” emphasized Jean-Marc Guilhempey, CEO of Toray Carbon Fibers Europe.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Toray Carbon Fibers Europe has adapted its business model from a strong focus on aerospace markets to industrial sectors linked to green energy production and the development of new mobility solutions. In view of sustained demand from these emerging sectors and the gradual recovery of the aerospace industry, Toray Carbon Fibers Europe considers it vital to prepare for the future by investing today.

Earlier, parent company Toray had announced a $15-million investment in the United States to double production capacity of its high-performance Torayca T1100 carbon fiber and add critical redundancy in Decatur, AL. This upgrade is in response to rising demand for defense applications in the United States, significantly increasing the availability and shortening lead-time of Torayca T1100 next-generation intermediate modulus plus (IM+) carbon fiber. This material is a critical component in several US Department of Defense weapon systems, as well as structural applications in Future Vertical Lift (FVL) platforms.

Toray is the largest producer of carbon fiber in the United States and has a fully integrated supply chain. The Decatur plant has operation lines from precursor to carbon fiber and is one of three Toray manufacturing facilities. The company has other locations in Tacoma, WA, and Spartanburg, SC, producing precursor, carbon fiber, and prepreg.

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