Hyosung develops game-changing chemical material for cars

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- Hyosung Group, a major South Korean conglomerate, became the world's first company to commercially develop a high-performance chemical material called polyketone, the company officials said Tuesday, an accomplishment they say is matched only by development of nylon by DuPont in the 1930s.

Polyketone, the cost-effective and eco-friendly engineering plastic made from carbon monoxide, is seen as a viable replacement for other polymeric materials used in automobiles and electric and electronic engineering.

Polyketone offers improved impact strength and chemical resistance compared with nylon, the Korean company said.

Hyosung's breakthrough comes as U.S. and Japanese companies have also been trying to commercialize the engineering plastic that can also be used in tire cords, industrial ropes or belts due to its ultra-high strength.

"The development of polyketone is a remarkable achievement," said Woo Sang-Sun, president of Hyosung's research and development center.

The company claimed that polyketone could shift the paradigm in the Korean materials industry and bolster national brand power.

"Hyosung's success in developing polyketone as a new polymeric material for the first time in the world paves the way for Korea to take an advantageous position in global markets," said Prof. Kim Byeong-cheol of Hanyang University.

Hyosung said it plans to invest 200 billion won (US$188 million) to build a plant in Ulsan by 2015 capable of producing 50,000 tons of polyketone per year. It said its total investment could reach 1.5 trillion won by 2020.

The company said it will "dominate the production and sales of polyketone" in the global market worth 66 trillion won annually.

It added that polyketone will have a tremendous ripple effect worth more than 10 trillion won on many industries involved.

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