Entering 2023, investment and financing in the field of new materials will continue to be hot. According to incomplete statistics, 10 new material projects have announced the completion of financing. In the past 2022, a total of 210 investment and financing incidents occurred in the field of new materials, involving an investment of nearly 50 billion yuan. New materials are becoming a “new outlet” that is heating up day by day. Although the production capacity has increased significantly in recent years, the domestic high-end new material technology and production are weak, and still fail to meet the domestic demand for high-end products. The road to a strong material country has a long way to go.
Some time ago, the import of polyphenylene ether in the United States was suspected of being dumped, and relevant departments investigated it.
It was finally determined that there was dumping of imported polyphenylene ether originating in the United States, which caused substantial damage to the domestic polyphenylene ether industry, and there was a causal relationship between the dumping and the substantial damage.
With this move, many domestic enterprises could not sit still.
This anti-dumping means that if domestic enterprises want to continue to use polyphenylene ether produced in the United States, they need to pay a huge additional deposit; Make related industries face enormous pressure and damage gross profit space.
As early as 1915, polyphenylene ether was the first polyphenylene ether polymer produced by Huntuer in the United States based on unsubstituted phenol monomers. Later, in 1957, Hay of GE Company in the United States used the oxidative coupling method to produce high molecular weight polymers with substituents at the 2 and 6 positions. In 1967, the modified engineering plastic polyphenylene ether was realized, and the production technology of polyphenylene ether in the world has been monopolized by GE Company of the United States.
Domestic development began in the 1960s, when the Shanghai Synthetic Resin Research Institute had built a thousand-ton production facility. In 2013, Ruicheng Branch of Bluestar Chemical New Materials Co., Ltd. became the only PPO manufacturer in China.
The chemical name of polyphenylene ether is poly 2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene ether, PPE or PPO for short. Also known as polyphenylene oxide or polyphenylene ether, it is a kind of high temperature resistant thermoplastic resin.
As a thermoplastic engineering plastic with excellent performance, PPO is one of the five general-purpose engineering plastics in the world. Judging from the existing engineering plastics in my country, they have excellent dimensional stability, natural halogen-free flame retardant and other characteristics, so they are widely used in photovoltaics, automobiles, electronic appliances, water treatment and other fields.
In photovoltaic junction boxes, PPO is the mainstream material. As a component of solar cell modules, photovoltaic junction boxes need to be used in harsh and changing environmental and climatic conditions. Moreover, photovoltaic connectors are required to have high electrical safety protection performance, and the service life must be more than 25 years. PPO is used in photovoltaic junction boxes, the load deformation temperature can reach above 190°C, and the embrittlement temperature is -170°C.
Modified polyphenylene ether (MPPE) is used for practical applications due to its low flow. PPE/PA alloys are used to produce body parts such as outer panels, fenders, wheel covers, rear panels, front fenders, intake pipes, and electrical components such as fuse boxes and connectors.
PPE/HIPS alloys are used in the automotive field, such as automotive water tanks, water tank covers, and automotive water pumps. It has good dimensional stability, low shrinkage, low water absorption and low creep performance at high temperature.
Glass fiber reinforced PPE/HIPS is used in automobile ignition coils. Flame-retardant enhanced PPE/HIPS can be used for coil formers, connectors, etc.
Modified PPO has excellent electrical insulation under conditions of humidity, load, and high temperature. It is used in electronics, electrical appliances, household appliances, and office appliances, such as junction boxes, color TV casings, charger casings, sockets, and compressor covers. cover etc. PPO can also be used as a 5G base station phase shifter dielectric block to change the phase difference of electromagnetic waves to obtain target signals and realize 5G interconnection.
Water treatment related industries
Because of hydrolysis resistance and excellent dimensional stability, PPE/PBT modification, PPE glass fiber mineral modification, etc. are used in water treatment, such as water pump casings, shells, and flow components.
Because of PPO’s unique low dielectric constant, low dielectric loss, and electrolyte resistance, it has also become an important material for national strategic emerging industries.
According to the latest report, there are currently only 5 companies in the world that have truly mastered the industrial production technology of 10,000-ton PPO, including Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Asahi Kasei, Japan’s Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals, China Bluestar’s Nantong Xingchen Synthetic Materials Co., Ltd., Xinbao New Material Co., Ltd. The total production capacity is 330,000 tons, of which Saudi Basic Industries Corporation is the largest production enterprise in the world, with an annual production capacity of 135,000 tons/year.
The global polyphenylene ether potential consumption scale exceeds 400,000 tons per year. It can be said that the global polyphenylene ether market presents a serious shortage of supply.
However, domestic PPO has been mainly dependent on imports for a long time. At present, there are 4 sets of domestic industrialized devices, with a total production scale of 100,000 tons/year. These 4 sets of equipment belong to China National Bluestar Group and Xinbao Polymer Materials respectively, among which China National Bluestar Group is the largest manufacturer of polyphenylene ether, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 tons per year.
Judging from the supply and demand balance of polyphenylene ether in China in the past eight years, the supply of polyphenylene ether in China is growing slowly, but the consumption is increasing rapidly. The gap between supply and demand in China has grown from the initial 60,000 tons/year to the current 100,000 tons/year.
In other words, China needs to import more than 100,000 tons of polyphenylene ether every year to supplement China’s rapidly growing consumer market, which is extremely rare in China’s imported new material industry.
As a low-key polyphenylene ether PPO material, although it is still included in the top five engineering plastics, it is difficult for domestic production and consumption to match this. The production and consumption of PPO are limited to the current inherent fields, and there is a lack of macro policies to promote the application and expansion of this engineering plastic.
However, with the proposal of the “Double Carbon Target” and the rise of photovoltaic green energy, polyphenylene oxide (PPO) has been brought into the public’s field of vision. The photovoltaic industry has always been favored by the country. Behind this industry strongly supported by the government, the most consumed raw materials are also PPO materials.
Whether it is the US anti-dumping or relying on imports. In the era of explosive growth in the photovoltaic industry, polyphenylene ether has always been one of the core products monopolized by developed countries. So no matter how stuck the neck is, it can’t stop the coming of the era with the most considerable consumption of polyphenylene ether PPO.