SABIC Takes Majority Share in Carbon Nanotube Business for Energy Storage Applications

Company confirms it is also examining this proprietary multi-wall technology in various materials and applications. 

SABIC, Houston, has acquired a majority stake in Black Diamond Structures (“BDS”), a nanotechnology company established in 2014. TBDS of Austin, Texas, produces and commercializes Molecular Rebar, a proprietary technology of modified multi-wall carbon nanotubes that offers great potential for enhancing the performance of energy storage applications using lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.

SABIC is adding BDS to its Specialties business, which includes a broad range of specialty materials—from its well-known engineering thermoplastic resins and compounds, to composites, functional surface substrates, ethylene oxide derivatives, and additive manufacturing filaments and reinforced compounds. According to v.p. of SABIC’s Specialties Alan Leung, the carbon nanotube technology of BDS will allow Specialties to address several demanding challenges in the energy storage market.

In particular, BDS provides game-changing benefits to battery manufacturers looking for breakthrough improvements in charge rates, battery cycle life and energy density. Conventional carbon nanotubes are known for their tendency to get entangled, cake and hold high residual impurities, limiting their capabilities of enhancing electrical and mechanical material properties in real world applications. In contrast, the Molecular Rebar product supplied by BDS delivers clean and discrete carbon nanotubes of uniform aspect ratio, enabling their use to create high-performance energy storage applications.
 

While SABIC’s initial thrust of development of the technology will be used to enhance the performance of the active material of the battery itself, the technology is also being evaluated for other uses. Leung envisions that adding the technology to the portfolio of SABIC’s Specialties business is likely to unleash innovations in material science for enhancing the properties of specialty resins and functional compounds.