SEOUL, South Korea--(BUSINESS WIRE)--LG Chem (KRX: 051910) has developed a plastic material that can replace the metal in solar panel frames for the first time in Korea and starts full-scale market penetration.
LG Chem announced that the Company has developed ‘LUPOY EU5201’, a PC/ASA flame retardant material that maintains the material shape even during temperature changes due to its low thermal expansion levels, using their proprietary technology and manufacturing method.
* PC/ASA: Engineering plastic with enhanced physical properties made by mixing ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) resins with polycarbonate as a base
Solar panel frames are located at the edge of solar panels to protect and support the panel from external impact. Heat resistance and strong durability against corrosion are required as the materials are exposed outside for a long time, such as on exterior walls or the roof where there is direct sunlight. Solar panel frames account for about 10% of solar panels, and are mainly made of aluminum alloy.
The ‘LUPOY EU5201’, developed by LG Chem, is a high-performance engineering plastic material that supplements the mechanical properties of general plastics by adding glass fiber to polycarbonate compounds.
It has the same level of durability as existing aluminum, but is half the weight and has excellent price competitiveness. Also, it has excellent dimensional stability that maintains its shape even in temperature changes, so it is not easily deteriorated or deformed by the external environment. The chemical decomposition caused by ultraviolet rays exposure has been reduced, which has significantly improved the lifespan of the product compared to general plastics, and the color remains the same even after long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays.
If aluminum is replaced with LG Chem's new engineering plastic material, the weight of the solar panel is expected to decrease dramatically and material cost can also be reduced. This can bring increased convenience during transportation and installation.
LG Chem has PCR PC (Post-Consumer Recycled Polycarbonate) development technology that recycles plastics used by general consumers, so the Company can also produce eco-friendly low-carbon products using high-content PCR raw materials at the request of customers. The Company also plans to review ways to collect the solar panel frame that will be discarded in the future and reproduce them into PCR PC.
LG Chem has secured mass production capability during the first half of this year and started selling products in full-scale in the third quarter. Starting with the supply for solar panel frames, the Company plans to expand the application of materials to interior and exterior materials of automobiles in the future.
Steven Kim, Leader of the Engineering Materials Division at LG Chem, stated, “Solar panel frames made of plastic have many advantages that differentiate them from existing frames, such as ease of installation, and therefore have great market potential. Based on the world's best compounding technology, LG Chem plans to lead the rapidly growing solar material market through continuous R&D and investment into mass production capabilities.”
LG Chem declared ‘carbon-neutral growth by 2050’ last year, the first company to do so in the domestic petrochemical industry, and is promoting RE100, which produces products using renewable energy at all workplaces around the world. LG Chem plans to accelerate carbon-neutral growth through the transition to renewable energy and contribute to the development of renewable energy industry such as solar power through the development of LUPOY EU5201 product.
About LG Chem
LG Chem, Ltd. is Korea’s largest diversified chemical company which operates three main business units: Petrochemicals, Advanced Materials, Life Sciences. The chemical business manufactures a wide range of products, from petrochemical goods to high-value added plastics. It also extends its chemical expertise into high-tech areas such as electronic & battery materials and drugs & vaccines. Throughout multiple production facilities and an extensive distribution network, LG Chem strives to become a leading global company. For more information, please visit the LG Chem website at www.lgchem.com.