MC and Denka ink JV agreement in fullerene business

MC and Denka ink JV agreement in fullerene business

Aim to promote initiatives in thin-film solar cells and other organic electronics

  • By ICN Bureau | April 28, 2024

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Denka Company Limited (Denka) have announced signing of a joint venture (JV) agreement in the business of fullerenes, carbon molecules that form the base of cutting-edge materials in the field of nanotechnology. Under the terms of our agreement, Denka shall acquire from MC a 50% stake in Frontier Carbon Corporation (FCC), a company dedicated to the manufacturing and sales of fullerenes. 

Fullerenes are nanoscale allotropes of carbon, whose single or double-bonded atoms are joined together in hexagonal rings in spherical form, similar in appearance to a soccer ball. They have excellent conductive and thermal properties and can be dissolved in common organic solvents at room temperature, which makes them effective conductors in organic, thin-film solar cells. 

Since establishing FCC in 2001, MC has leveraged tech-based collaborations with longstanding customers, built a sales network, and otherwise made strong inroads into the commercial-use fullerene market. Having acquired a substance3 and other fullerene related patents, MC is committed to applying its multi-industry collective capabilities towards FCC's future growth and development.

Energy transformations are a key part of MC's latest management plan, "Midterm Corporate Strategy 2024,"4 which demonstrates the company's aim to help industries decarbonize by connecting their needs with seeds of growth in materials and other areas. Offering fullerene-based solutions is just one of the ways that MC is playing its part to realize a carbon-neutral society.

Denka has strengths that will prove invaluable in supporting FCC's future growth, including the carbon-nano-material expertise and manufacturing technologies that the former has built up through its mass production of acetylene black5, a highly conductive carbon material used in high-voltage cables and lithium-ion batteries. Denka will play an equally important role in supporting the construction of business infrastructure by taking advantage of its manufacturing-facility and other utilities. These assets promise to enhance the company's presence in the carbon nanomaterials market and further its business expansion plans in this field.

Recognizing that the industrial potential of fullerenes spans their use in electronics, biopharmaceuticals, and many other industries, Denka also has plans to incorporate them into its operations in ICT & Energy, Healthcare, and Sustainable Living, the three focal fields of its latest management plan, "Mission 2030"6.

MC and Denka look forward to combining our respective expertise in sales and technology to promote the growth of fullerene applications. Our shared goal is to leverage FCC's operations to address societal challenges by developing systems to boost production and meet the growing demand for these cutting-edge materials.

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