Kureha launches China PVDF plant

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Haiyu Changshu government The grand opening celebration for Kureha's first plant outside of Japan.

Kureha Corp.'s first polyvinylidene fluoride plant outside of Japan has started production.

The wholly owned subsidiary, Kureha (Changshu) Fluoropolymers Co. Ltd., held an inauguration ceremony on July 4.

The Changshu, Jiangsu province, facility was established in response to rising demand for PVDF as binder materials for lithium-ion batteries and also as an engineering plastic for various industrial uses, Kureha said in a news release.

Kureha supplies 70 percent of the PVDF binder for lithium-ion batteries in the global market, according to a release by the Haiyu, Changshu government.

With 7.5 billion Japanese yen ($73.7 million) of capital investment, construction of the 5,000-ton-per-annum plant began in June 2012 and was completed in April 2014. It has since been conducting test operation.

Combined with its Iwaki, Japan, site, Kureha has boosted its global PVDF annual production capacity to 9,000 tons. The company said it allows the delivery of a stable supply of the material to growing demand worldwide.

President and CEO Yutaka Kobayashi noted that Kureha has received highly positive feedback from customers in the Chinese lithium-ion battery industry, in particular batteries for electric vehicles. He expects to see stronger demand as the Chinese government pushes forward policies that encourage the development of alternative fuel vehicles, according to the local government.

Kureha is based in Tokyo.