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Bayer MaterialScience has opened a new pilot facility for the manufacture of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at Chempark Leverkusen.
The company has invested some €22 million in the planning, development and construction of the facility, which is the largest of its kind in the world and has an annual capacity of 200 metric tons.
By investing in one of the key technologies of the future, Bayer MaterialScience is looking to gain a head start in supplying the demand for a whole host of applications for multi-wall carbon nanotubes, which the company is marketing under the trade name Baytubes.
Baytubes are a modification of carbon. They can be added to polymer matrices or metal systems as a filler or modifier to improve their mechanical strength and impart electrical properties. Potential applications for Baytubes include thermoplastic and thermoset systems and coatings. Possible applications for carbon nanotubes include the marine industry, rotor blades for wind turbines, and sports equipment such as skis, hockey sticks and surfboards.
“Nanotechnology is a cross-sectional technology which can play a role in a variety of different industries and application areas. Its potential uses range from industrial production to energy supply and storage, from information technology to intelligent surfaces, and also to some areas of medicine, like diagnosis or therapy,” explains Dr. Joachim Wolff a member of Bayer MaterialScience’s Executive Committee and head of the Coatings, Adhesives, Specialties segment.
When asked about the future of the material, Wolff went on to say, “Current forecasts predict an annual growth rate of 25 percent for carbon nanotubes. Within ten years, the market is expected to be worth US$ 2 billion. We are expecting nanotechnology to create a total of 100,000 new jobs in the German industry in the medium term.”
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