Evonik Industries, one of the world's largest suppliers of acrylic, and AU Optronics Corp., a leading manufacturer of thin film transistor liquid crystal display panels, have formed a non-exclusive agreement that will focus mainly on research and development, production planning, and manufacturing. Recycling of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) also is being worked on by the two companies.
Since 2008, the companies have been working together in their Evonik Forhouse Optical Polymers (EFOP) joint venture, which includes the operation of a plant that produces acrylic for the TFT-LCD industry. In addition to the new strategic partnership, the companies also announced the EFOP joint venture will double its PMMA capacity to about 85,000 tons.
One key goal of the new joint development program in Taiwan with AUO is to open up new application markets, said Patrik Wohlhauser, chairman of the board of management of Evonik Degussa GmbH. This includes applications for PMMA in solar engineering and other alternate energy technologies. AUO extended its business beyond displays to the green energy industry in late 2008, and in October 2010 named its two core business units Display and Solar.