Bayer MaterialSience announced today that is exiting the carbon nanotube business, an area where it once described itself as the industry leader.
In a press conference four years ago, Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, the member of the Bayer AG Board of Management responsible for innovation, technology and the environment, made these comments: "We are investing in a key technology of the future that will open up a broad range of new applications for us. We intend to utilize this opportunity to the full." The company announced plans to invest more than $100 million in the technology, and opened a pilot plant in Leverkusen, Germany, giving it a total capacity of 260 metric tons.
Bayer's capacity was soon surpassed by a Chinese competitor, CNano Technology, which has a capacity of 500 metric tons. Number 2 is Belgian company Nanocyl with 460 metric tons. Japan's Showa Denko has 400 metric tons.
One long-time industry observer told Plastics Today that the move by Bayer MaterialScience is not believed to be reflective of a loss of confidence in the overall carbon nanotube industry, but rather in the company's own technical position.