Asahi Kasei Surges Grit With New Ontario Investments

Asahi Kasei Corporation is beefing up its investments in Canada with fresh $1.6 billion to build an EV battery separator plant in Port Colborne, Ontario.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office confirmed the investments, which he said is a testament to Canada and Ontario’s business environment.

“Canada bet big on electric vehicles, and today, the biggest manufacturers in the world are building them right here in Canada. Asahi Kasei’s investment is another vote of confidence in our auto industry and auto workers,” said Trudeau in a statement.

Conceptual rendering of Asahi Kasei’s Port Colborne facility (Graphic: Business Wire)

Propels EV Supply Chain

Canada has been a global leader in the electric vehicle (EV) market. For that reason, the government wants to beef up the assembly of EVs in Canada as demand continues to grow.

In fact, the country has hauled more than $46 billion of investments from auto, EV battery, and battery component manufacturers and more are coming.

Asahi Kasei expects the North American EV market to grow in the medium to long term. Thus, it expects to make additional multi-billion-dollar investments through multiple phases.

Asahi Kasei’s decision to build this new facility in Port Colborne is a testament to Canada and Ontario’s competitive business environment. Moreover, it also highlight the country’s highly skilled workforce and dependable supply chains.

The investment will benefit from federal support through the Clean Technology Manufacturing investment tax credit. Moreover, Ontario expects to support this project with both direct and indirect incentives.

“Asahi Kasei’s investment will bring economic growth and good-paying jobs to workers in Port Colborne and across the Niagara Region. It’s also yet another show of confidence in our government’s ongoing work to build a domestic EV supply chain in Ontario,” said Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario.

Meanwhile, Koshiro Kudo, President and Representative Director, Asahi Kasei, said demand for lithium ion batteries for EVs will continue to rise. Thus, the company is eager to bring forth its Hipore wet-process lithium ion separator manufacturing facility to Canada.

“…(with) skilled talent, and strong local community support here in Port Colborne, we will be able to better serve our partners in the region as well as the broader North American automotive market from this facility,” said Kudo.

Critical Component for EVs

Asahi Kasei Corporation is a multinational company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Its new plant in Port Colborne will produce Hipore™ battery separators, an essential component of the lithium-ion batteries used in EVs. Most importantly, this makes batteries more sustainable and durable.

Meanwhile, the construction of the facility will likely conclude by the end of 2024. On the other hand, the plant’s commercial operation will commence in 2027.

he Hipore™ battery separator is a microporous polyolefin sheet that prevents the anode and cathode from contacting one another and causing a short circuit, while enabling lithium ions to pass back and forth during battery charging and discharging.

It is projected that the global sales of EVs will be over three times higher in 2030 than it was in 2023, and Canada is well positioned to be a major player in EV production.

15 May 2024