Nippon Paper Industries to establish a manufacturing and sales subsidiary in Hungary for CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose), which is one of the materials used for lithium-ion battery (LiB) anodes in electric vehicles (EV), to join its rapidly growing supply chain system in Europe.
CMC is an anionic, water-soluble polymer derived from cellulose that features unique properties such as excellent thickening, water absorption and water retention and it is also very environmentally friendly. Because of its outstanding properties, CMC has been widely used as an additive in food and cosmetics such as toothpaste, as well as in industrial applications such as paper manufacturing. The CMC for LiB that the Company has developed is used as a high-performance additive in the coating process for LiB anodes (graphite), and demand for it has grown significantly in recent years. The product enables the formation of a uniform coating surface that contributes to LiB safety performance, and that property is highly valued by the manufacturers of LiBs for EV automotive applications, applications in consumer technologies such as smartphones and PCs, and in renewable energy storage applications.
The LiB market for EVs has rapidly expanded in Europe, where strict CO2 emissions regulations are being implemented, and the European automotive industry has been working to build a one-stop EV supply chain system. These trends have encouraged automobile parts and LiB manufacturers in China, South Korea and other countries to announce plans to build new factories within the European region.
In response to this situation, in 2021 the Company strengthened its production system at the Gotsu Mill in Japan. Nippon Paper aims to start operating the new plant in December 2024. This investment is expected to increase sales revenue approx. 50 million euros and provide approx. 60 jobs at full operation.