SABIC says the Saudi plant will enable it to serve the growing demand for carbon fibre and carbon fibre composites in fast-growing markets such as alternative energy, transportation and infrastructure.

Once complete, the carbon fibre project is expected to establish a domestic supply of more than 3000 tonnes of industrial grade carbon fibre to serve markets in the Middle East as well as international markets.

SABIC and Montefibre also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study the feasibility of a new carbon fibre production plant in Spain, to be integrated into Montefibre’s existing acrylic fibre production site.

Carbon composites in Saudi Arabia

“This carbon fibre project will be the basis for the creation of a world-class carbon composites value chain in Saudi Arabia and a valuable extension of our offering of innovative products and services to our customers in key markets," says Koos van Haasteren, Executive Vice President, SABIC Performance Chemicals.

"We are looking forward to developing many new and exciting applications as we grow our ability to supply competitive industrial grade carbon fibre products.”

The project will also include the creation of a carbon fibre product development centre and composite plastics application development capabilities at the SABIC Plastics Application Development Center (SPADC) currently under construction at the Riyadh Techno Valley research complex at King Saud University.

Both the carbon fibre production plant and the SPADC capabilities are aligned with Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Clusters Development Programme to grow and diversify the manufacturing sector in Saudi Arabia.

The carbon fibre and derivatives introduced by this project will allow SABIC to serve growing markets for thermoset-based composites, and also enable SABIC to utilise its expertise in thermoplastic technologies. SABIC Innovative Plastics is a global supplier of engineering thermoplastics.