FAQ

1. What are technical carbon products?

As their name implies, technical carbon products are carbon products refined to varying degrees of purity and used for purposes other than energy production. Technical carbons include carbon black, activated carbon and carbon fibre. They have various uses ranging from printing ink to additives and colour pigments for rubber and plastic products, adsorption material in filtering liquids and gases, and high-tech applications in the form of graphene and fullerene.

Technical carbons are manufactured from oil industry by-products, coal, wood, peat, coconut shell and other organic raw materials. Vapo Carbons uses ecologically produced peat as its raw material.

2. How are technical carbon products manufactured?

Coking is the most frequently used method for achieving a high carbon content. It is a process that removes compounds that contain, among other things, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, thereby enriching the carbon. Coking is performed by raising the raw material temperature in anaerobic conditions to a level exceeding 600˚C, typically about 900˚C. The removed gases can be used for purposes such as energy production.

Vapo Carbons uses a method that is more energy-efficient than coking and ensures that our products are more homogeneous and low-ash than those produced by coking. Our method also makes it possible to introduce special chemical attributes, for example, to technical carbon products. We cannot comment on the method in more detail due to competitive reasons.

Technical carbons are refined further according to their intended use. For example, they can be activated, granulated, extruded into pellets, fiberised, combined with a carrier or purified.

3. What makes peat a promising raw material for technical carbon products? What are the competitive advantages?

Vapo Carbons uses a unique method that ensures that our products are more homogeneous and low-ash than carbon products produced by coking. In the traditional manufacturing processes of technical carbon products, ash is enriched in the end products, which reduces their quality. The Vapo Carbons manufacturing method makes it possible to reduce the ash content of the end product. Low ash content is one of the key factors affecting the quality of technical carbon products.

Technical carbons are produced from peat, the raw material reserves of which are under Vapo’s control and located close to production operations. This allows us to guarantee long-term availability and reliable deliveries to customers.

Technical carbon products manufactured by the Vapo Carbons method have special attributes compared to traditional carbon products, giving them a wider range of industrial applications.

4. Is technical carbon manufactured from peat sustainably produced or renewable?

Vapo’s production of peat products is responsible, ecologically sustainable and strictly regulated by the authorities.

The ecological sustainability of peat production has been ensured in a variety of ways, although there are no actual sustainability certificates for peat at this time. No swamps in their natural state are used for peat production. Less than 1% of the total area of Finnish peatlands is used for peat production. The permit processes for new production areas always include an assessment of the area’s ecology, and emissions into waterways are monitored in accordance with the requirements stipulated by the authorities. Permits are not issued for mires of ecological significance. The after-use of cutaway peatlands is determined on a case-by-case basis and ranges from forestation to restoration, conversion into bird sanctuaries and agricultural use as fields. Restored production areas regain the natural appearance of the landscape in just a few years.

5. Why is Vapo interested in technical carbon production and the technical carbon business?

Vapo Ventures develops and commercialises new and innovative business solutions to ensure the company’s capacity for continued operations in the future. The new internal startups are based on Vapo’s strengths: expertise, assets and networks. One of Vapo’s strengths is peat, which has commercial potential not only in the energy sector, but also in many other sectors. Peat can be used as the raw material for Vapo Carbons carbon products and Vapo Fibers fibre products.

Peat is already being used to manufacture carbon products. The advanced process technology of Vapo Carbons ensures that the use of peat in manufacturing technical carbons is even easier and the end product is of higher quality. Vapo Carbons has the potential to become a significant business for the company as a whole in the coming years.

6. How large is the technical carbon market?

The size of the global market for technical carbons is approximately EUR 40 billion per year, with annual growth of about 10%. Vapo will focus on selected customer segments in which materials produced by Vapo’s production methods offer the greatest added value to customers.

7. How is the method developed by Vapo different from previous methods? What is new about it?

Coking is the most frequently used method for achieving a high carbon content. It is a process that removes compounds that contain, among other things, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, thereby enriching the carbon. Coking is performed by raising the raw material temperature in anaerobic conditions to a level exceeding 600˚C, typically about 900˚C. The removed gases can be used for purposes such as energy production.

Vapo Carbons uses a method that is more energy-efficient than coking and ensures that our products are more homogeneous and low-ash than those produced by coking. Our method also makes it possible to introduce special chemical attributes, for example, to technical carbon products. We cannot comment on the method in more detail due to competitive reasons.

Technical carbons are refined further according to their intended use. For example, they can be activated, granulated, extruded into pellets, fiberised, combined with a carrier or purified.