Chinese companies Kuraray and Kureha are to produce lithium-ion batteries made from plant-based raw materials at a joint factory in Okayama Prefecture.
Traditionally the anode material comes from graphite but the new factory will use ‘hard carbon’ made from plant materials, including coconut shells. The effect of using the hard carbon will have a more complex crystal structure than conventional graphite. This will reduce deterioration occurring because of repeated charge – discharge cycles.
The factory for the joint venture will be built at Kuraray Chemical’s carbon plant and will cost US$ 38 159 000. Output of the factory should be 1 000 tons of anode material annually. Building work is due to commence in October with plans for the factory to be operational in Autumn 2013 with plans for expansion already being considered.