US Huntsman mulls commercial-scale MIRALON carbon nanotube project

Al Greenwood

22-Feb-2024

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Huntsman is considering a commercial-scale project of its MIRALON carbon nanutube technology after it starts up a pilot plant mid-year, the US-based producer said on Thursday.

The pilot plant will be in Texas, and it will produce 30 tonnes/year of MIRALON.

“We feel that we should have sufficient data from that to initiate the larger expansion, which will be in 2025,” said Peter Huntsman, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call.

Huntsman did not disclose the capacity of the expansion, but he considered it to be a commercial scale reactor. From that point, increasing capacity would be a matter of additional reactors of that same size.

In the next year or two, Huntsman will be able to inspect the product coming out of the plant and qualify the material.

Even though the pilot plant has yet to start up, Huntsman indicated that the company is already producing material.

“Right now, we’re able to sell as much as we’re able to make of the product,” he said. However, Huntsman is selling MIRALON to very high-end applications, such as satellites and to space agencies.

Huntsman expects that economies of scale will broaden the end uses of the material. Right now, the company is considering concrete, tires and batteries for electric vehicles.

Other applications stem from MIRALON’s ability to dissipate static charges. These include adhesives and floor coatings. It can also be used as a light-weight structural carbon fiber used in composites.

Huntsman produces MIRALON via methane pyrolysis. Under it, natural gas is converted to solid carbon and hydrogen with little, if any, carbon dioxide (CO2). If process uses renewable energy, then it emits no CO2.

Huntsman’s methane-pyrolysis process is different from other technologies because it produces a much higher grade of solid carbon, the company said.

For most methane pyrolysis, the solid carbon is at best the equivalent of carbon black, according to Huntsman.

Huntsman acquired the MIRALON technology in 2018 when it bought Nanocomp.

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