Inquiries Concerning News
Public Relations and Investor Relations Office,
Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation
TEL: +81-3-6748-7140

News Releases
News Releases
News Releases 2001
December 3, 2001
World's First Large Scale, Economic Production of Fullerenes
Will Lower Cost and Increase Availability
Mitsubishi Kagaku Medical, Inc.
Frontier Carbon Corporation (FCC), a joint venture of Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, was launched today with the financial support of the world's first nanotechnology private equity fund, Nanotech Partners. The new company will be a leading developer of high-performance nanocarbon products based on fullerene and carbon nanotube technology, as well as produce and supply nanocarbon materials.

Fullerenes are intricate carbon molecules with a football-shaped molecular structure. Fullerenes are currently used for products ranging from pharmaceuticals, such as anti-cancer and anti-HIV drugs, anti-aging cosmetics, long-life lithium ion batteries, hydrogen storage materials for fuel cells, super conductive materials, highly functional coating materials, and super fine artificial diamonds for industrial grinding applications. While potential applications for fullerenes are virtually endless, the high cost of fullerene production has made their widespread commercial use impossible until now.

FCC will make the large scale, economic production of fullerenes possible for the first time by combining the material patents and marketing skills of MC with the carbon black production technology of MCC. Construction on a pilot plant in MCC's Kurosaki production facility in Kitakyusyu City will begin in February 2002, where initial production of fullerenes will be 400 kg per year. Next, a large commercial plant will be constructed in 2007 with an annual production capacity of 1500 tons. These two facilities alone will expand the current global production of fullerenes by 10,000 times, and will reduce the cost of fullerenes by one tenth to one hundredth of current prices.

Once these facilities are online, it is expected that demand for fullerenes will rapidly expand. To accommodate increasing demand, FCC will introduce a stock option system by April 2002. In addition, an IPO to attract increased capital investment will be considered in the future.

Corporate Overview
Frontier Carbon Corporation
President : Shigeki Tomonoh (former general manager of STO and MCC)
Headquarters : Kyobashi Nissyoku Boulevard
1-8-7 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Capital : 1 billion yen (50% from MCC, 50% from Nanotech Partners)
(This amount will increase to 2.3 billion yen by June 2002)
Founded : December 3, 2001
Business Focus : Production and sales of fullerene and other nanocarbon products
Estimated Sales : Approximately 23 billion yen in FY2007
Workforce : Approximately 20 employees in FY2002

Nanotech Partners
Fund Value : 7.2 billion yen
(Will increase to approximately 15 billion yen by June 2002)
Investment Period : 5 years
Continuation Period : Estimated 10 years
Members : Nanotech Partners Co.
Mitsubishi Corporation
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
Honjo Chemical Corporation
Primary Investment : Unlisted companies both in Japan and overseas
(includes Frontier Carbon Corporation)
1. Production and sales company involved in fullerenes and carbon nanotube technology (FCC)
2. Production and sales company of fullerenes and carbon nanotube applied materials
Objective : With the objective of accelerating the production and applied material development of carbon fullerenes and carbon nanotubes, Nanotech will create strategic alliances with companies and individuals with proven track records in order to benefit the company.

For further information, please contact
Public Relations Department,
Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.
Tel: [+81] 3-3283-6254

back to top