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Subject: Carbon fiber can be made with byproduct of coal 2018-09-18 20:30:36.0 351

Korea Institute of Energy Research(president, Dr. Gwak Byong-sung, hereinafter refer to it as KIER) has developed ‘core technology to make carbon fiber with byproduct from pyrolysis of low grade coal’ domestically for the frist time, which can manufacture carbon fiber using byproduct(residue) of low grade coal.

 

Since carbon fiber is 4 times lighter and 10 times stronger than steel with 7 times of elastic modulus, it draws attention as new material for the future as it is used variously for the aerospace industry, engineering and construction industry like bridges, substitute for automotive steel sheet and energy & environment materials.

At present, the country imports whole quantity of pitch-based carbon fibers and materials among carbon fibers, and expected effect could reach to 3 trillion won of domestic demand and 40 trillion won of imports until 2020 if fibers and materials are to be commercialized through development of raw material.

 

Carbon fiber has been produced by mainly carbonizing synthetic textiles like PAN(Polyacrylonitrile), but low productivity was the problem due to high cost of raw material.

 

In order to overcome this problem, advanced countries in technology like Japan and the US aim at reduction of production cost by manufacturing carbon fiber using byproduct from pyrolysis of low grade coal. But currently, Japan is the only country to succeed in manufacturing carbon fiber and even enlargement is not yet proceeded.

 

KIER has succeeded in manufacturing pitch-based carbon fiber in the perfect form of textile by using byproduct from upgrading process of low grade coal domestically for the first time. With this technology, it is possible to reduce production cost by 20% compared with normal pitch-based carbon fiber.

 

As there are moisture and impurities in low grade coal, it should go through the upgrading process by pyrolysis though the cost of low grade coal is inexpensive. Byproduct is produced from this process and could be used to manufacture carbon fiber by changing the byproduct into tar. But there is a drawback that it is very difficult to make tar in the form of fiber because raw material of carbon fiber made with byproduct from low grade coal has big oxygen content and molecular weight, and radioactivity gets lower.

 

Then, KIER has succeeded in manufacturing carbon fiber in the perfect form of textile with a tenth thickness(10μm) of a hair strand by controlling molecule weight reliably and increasing radioactivity applying double heat treatment and cocarbonization. Such carbon fiber has the same strength with that of normal pitch-based carbon fiber and reduces production cost by 20%.

 

This performance of research is the second successful case in the world after Japan. So it is of significance in that the country secures the equal basic technical skills with the leading country in carbon material technology field where mainstream researches pursue advanced technologies.

 

Dr. Jung Doo-hwan, the principal researcher, said that “The manufacturing technology of carbon fiber using byproduct from pyrolysis of low grade coal is the core technology of future energy to play the role of locomotive in order to create new industries as well as to address global energy issue. We will exert our efforts for the country to play a leading role in high value added technologies utilizing low grade coal in the future.”

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