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Carbon fibre manufacturers expand to meet wind industry demand

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Several carbon fiber manufacturers are planning to expand capacity to meet the growing wind power market. Hexcel Corporation, Zoltek and Grafil have announced plans to increase production. Grafil, the California subsidiary of Mitsubishi Rayon, is raising output by 33% to 2000 tons by the third quarter of fiscal 2007. Grafil will partner with SGL Carbon Group, a European carbon fiber compound material manufacturer, to acquire the fiber. Hexcel will increase production by 40% over the next three years by adding a new carbon fiber line and a new precursor line. The expansion will cost about $80 million, according to the company. At Zoltek, carbon fiber sales are up 170% to 7.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. The company reports the increase on the heels of signing a long term supply agreement with Vestas. Zoltek has launched new carbon fiber production lines at its Texas facility and expanded precursor capacity in Hungary.

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