Asahi Kasei, the Japanese chemical products and advanced materials producer, has revealed plans for new coating lines for lithium-ion battery separators.
The investment of around €250 million ($266 million) concerns the production units in Charlotte in the US, in Hyuga and Miayazaki in Japan, and in Pyeongtaek and Gyeonggi in South Korea. The new coating capacity corresponds to 700 million square metres annually.
After the upgrade and start-up in early 2026, Asahi Kasei expects to supply coated separators for electric vehicle (EV) batteries corresponding to 1.7 million vehicles.
Hiroyoshi Matsuyama, senior executive officer of environmental solutions at Asahi Kasei, said this expansion is a strategic move instrumental in bolstering supply chains through greenfield sites.
Asahi Kasei supplies two types of wet-process lithium-ion battery separators: a polyolefin microporous base film membrane and a coated membrane separator produced by applying ceramic and other coatings to the base film.
The membranes are filled with microscopic pores, also uniform submicron pores for certain applications. Polyolefins do not emit harmful gases when incinerated, which is an advantage for the battery applications. High porosity increases the liquid holding capacity of the film. The separators are used both for batteries and for capacitors.
Asahi Kasei will continue investing to build its separator supply infrastructure for automotive applications to meet growing demand, especially in North America, where significant expansion of EV production is forecast.
The investment will contribute to building robust supply chains in North America, Japan, and South Korea, with wet-process separators for automotive applications, it said. Further proactive investments are expected, including the establishment of new membrane manufacturing facilities for supplying the North American and Japanese markets.
Photo: Hipore LIB separators. Asahi Kasei