Vapo sets its sights on the growing market for technical carbons – plans to invest EUR 50 million into a production plant

Vapo is actively pursuing innovative peat-based business opportunities beyond traditional fuel production. The company is aiming to make a quick entry into the growing international market for technical carbons. The planned factory investment is valued at approximately EUR 50 million and will have a significant employment effect.

Vapo, a leading developer of bioenergy in Finland and the world’s leading peat industry company, is planning an investment in a technical carbon production plant.

The company is evaluating three different locations in Finland. The decision on building the first production plant will be made in 2017. The construction of the production plant will begin immediately after obtaining the necessary permits from the authorities. The plant will produce tens of thousands of tons of technical carbons per year. The production unit will employ a total of some 200 people, in addition it will have an employment effect of hundreds of man-years in the construction stage.

Market size of technical carbons EUR 40 billion yearly

Technical carbons refer to products such as activated carbon, carbon fibre and carbon black. Activated carbon can be used in the purification of liquids and gases. Carbon fibre is desirable in various lightweight and durable structures, such as in automotive, aviation and space industries and in sports equipment. Carbon black is typically used as a pigment.
The size of the global market for technical carbons is approximately EUR 40 billion per year. The market has grown at an annual rate of about 10% in recent years. Vapo aims initially to enter the European market, which represents approximately 20% of the global market.

According to Mia Suominen, the Director in charge of Vapo’s new business development, the technical carbon market is very promising due to the growing need for air and water purification solutions and technological development.

“The majority of the world’s technical carbon products are made from oil and coal. By utilizing Finnish peat as a raw material we can introduce a high-quality alternative to the end users of technical carbons in the market.”

Jari Tielinen, Senior Advisor at Finpro’s Invest in Finland unit sees Vapo’s plans as a perfect example of Finnish companies’ innovativeness in the bioeconomy sector.

“Peat is slow-renewable bio mass. When replacing fossil fuel with peat, it is important that it is done in products with high extend of added value.”