Toray Industries Announced Investments of 100 Billion Yen in Carbon Fiber Manufacturing by 2025

27 Mar 2023

Carbon fiber, a lightweight and high-strength material, has been widely used in the aviation and aerospace industries for decades. Carbon fiber has gained more popularity in the general industrial field in recent years, with applications ranging from the automotive and renewable energy sectors to construction and sports equipment. The growing applications across industries have led to significant growth in the large tow carbon fiber market. 

According to the BIS Research analysis, the global large tow carbon fiber market is expected to reach $1,960.3 million in 2031 from $570.5 million in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 13.43% in the forecast period 2021-2031.

Thus, the growing demand for carbon fiber across industries has attracted significant investments from manufacturers worldwide. Here’s the complete story. 

Toray’s Big Investment to Expand the Production of Carbon Fiber

Toray Industries, a major Japanese chemical manufacturer,  stated in January 2023 that it would spend approximately $780 million (100 billion yen ) by 2025 to increase the production capacity of its bases for carbon fiber composite production in the U.S., South Korea, and France.

According to reports, Toray's carbon fiber company primarily focuses on manufacturing for the aviation, sports, leisure, and general industries. Before COVID-19, the market for carbon fiber from the aviation manufacturing industry temporarily decreased. During this time, Toray produced carbon fiber for the general industry using idle production equipment.

The demand for aviation carbon fiber has stabilized and increased along with the slow recovery of the global economy from the pandemic. This has caused the above production machinery to switch back to producing aviation carbon fiber, creating a capacity gap for carbon fiber for the general industry. The precise scale of the production has not been disclosed, and this expansion is primarily targeted at general industrial sectors, including new energy.

Increasing Investment in Coal-Based Technologies

For many decades, carbon fibers and composites have been developed, and manufacturers have successfully developed products with increased strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios, improved heat, and corrosion resistance. However, the high production cost has limited carbon fiber consumption. Manufacturers, researchers, and institutions are working to identify technologies and process materials that can be helpful in the production of higher volumes and cheaper carbon fibers and composites. 

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) has received $1.8 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The goal of turning coal tar pitch into high-value carbon fiber for use in the aerospace and defense, automotive, sporting goods, and other end-use sectors will be aided by this grant. Currently, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is used as a precursor in the production of most industrial carbon fibers. 

As a costly predecessor, PAN accounts for a sizable portion of the cost of carbon fiber. Considered to be significant options for the production of carbon fibers are pitch and lignin. A lot of performance enhancements must be made to this renewable and inexpensive raw material to make lignin-based carbon fibers commercially viable.

Additionally, the pitch is made from coal or crude oil, and carbon fibers from coal-based pitch have a basic molecular advantage over those made from petroleum using polyacrylonitrile (PAN). As heat dissipation and electrical conductivity are needed in these applications, pitch-based carbon fiber is better suited for airplane brakes and space satellite components. For high-volume, cost-sensitive applications where stiffness is essential and low ultimate strain is allowed, pitch-based carbon fiber composites made of coal have benefits. In addition, refining coal for carbon fiber generates much less carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning coal for electricity.


The increasing demand for carbon fiber in various industrial sectors has led to record investments and growth opportunities in the large tow carbon fiber. Toray Industries' massive investment primarily caters to the increasing demand for carbon fiber in new energy fields.

Moreover, manufacturers, researchers, and institutions are also exploring new technologies and materials to make carbon fiber production cheaper and more accessible. The increasing investment in innovative large tow carbon fiber applications is expected to drive significant growth opportunities in the coming years.

Interested to know more about the growing technologies in your industry vertical? Get the latest market studies and insights from BIS Research. Connect with us at  [email protected] to learn and understand more. 


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