5 minutes with Mikko Jaatinen, the new CFO of Coolbrook

Mikko Jaatinen is the new CFO of machinery company Coolbrook. He discusses Coolbrook’s heat-generating equipment & how it will impact manufacturing

Hi Mikko! What led you to this industry? 

“My background is in corporate finance, being it capital markets, green finance, risk and portfolio management, optimising capital structures, and economics more broadly. 

“Prior to joining Coolbrook I spent more than a decade at Neste, a company that creates solutions for combating climate change, where I established the foundations and functions of its Renewable Products finance division. During my time there, renewable energy became the company’s core focus — spearheaded by its renewable diesel — and as Head of Treasury, I managed its funding and risk throughout this period of transition. My deep experience of the financial realities of the green economy made me ideally suited to Coolbrook, who excited me with their practical and revolutionary decarbonisation technology and mission towards a clean new industrial era.”

 

What is Coolbrook?

“A 2022 Financial Times Tech Champion, Coolbrook is a transformational technology and engineering company, specialising in the electrification of heavy industries such as petrochemicals and chemicals, cement, iron and steel. Coolbrook’s long-term vision is the total elimination of fossil fuels in these high-emission industrial sectors using clean and renewable energy sources. Our medium-term developments are focused on future-proofing existing plants with retrofittable solutions, while our short-term goal is to bring our solutions to market at scale for commercial use. 

“While certainly cutting-edge, our technology is based on well-proven thermodynamic principles, essentially repurposing established turbine technology into efficient and reliable heat generators capable of operating at industrial temperatures. Our partnerships with academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, along with leading digital technology company ABB, ensures solid theoretical and practical foundations for our designs and technology.”

Mikko Jaatinen, the Chief Financial Officer of Coolbrook

Tell us about your revolutionary heat-generating equipment and how this will impact the manufacturing sector.

“Coolbrook has two innovative Roto Dynamic technologies that can cut over 30% of the world’s industrial CO2 emissions annually: the Roto Dynamic Reactor (RDR) and the Roto Dynamic Heater (RDH), with the former suited for chemical and petrochemical and the latter cement and steel. Temperatures of up to 1700°C can be achieved with electrical power alone with no reduction in yield — or, in the case of ethylene production, increased yields — and with equipment that has a footprint of a few metres rather than a few storeys.

“Industrial production accounts for a quarter of all CO2 emissions globally. For the world to continue to have access to essential materials — such as cement, steel, and chemicals — manufacturers must rapidly and thoroughly decarbonise their operations. Public, political, and market pressure is only going to increase so, by laying the groundwork with our equipment now, industrial manufacturers can achieve an exponential reduction in emissions as power supply transitions to renewable sources.”

 

Tell us about your role as CFO and the challenges you are anticipating.

“My first priority is to ensure that we have robust financial strategies and policies to support our fast-growing global partnerships and commercial relationships. As a rapidly expanding business looking to grow our headcount from 30 in 2022 to 100 in 2023 and deploy our Roto Dynamic technologies at customer sites in 2024, it is essential that we have the financial functions in place to be able to scale up our operations smoothly while expanding on an international scale.”

 

Can you tell us about any partnerships that you have?

“We have various partnerships across petrochemical and engineering companies, industrial manufacturers, public bodies, and academia to ensure we have a complete network of support and knowledge sharing.

“Digital Technologies and automation company ABB has been a key partner in the development of our technology. Their expertise — particularly in the area of process automation — has allowed us to accelerate its timeline towards commercialisation. On the testing and research side, Oxford University’s Thermofluids Institute and The Whittle Lab at Cambridge University have solidified the scientific foundation of our solutions.

“Building materials companies CEMEX and UltraTech Cement have announced that they will use our RDH technology in cement production, specifically to heat the kilns used in the heating and calcination processes, with commercial use at an industrial scale planned for 2024. In the field of petrochemicals, we have partnerships with oil supermajor Shell and Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in the Americas. In metals, we are working with multinational steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal.” 

 

What has been Coolbrook's greatest challenge this year?

“Our challenge has not been the technology, it has been finding the right people to bring this technology into reality and into the market. We need a team who don’t just understand engineering, manufacturing, and industry, but also have a genuine passion for the wider mission of decarbonisation. 

“Fortunately, we have found incredible talent that ticks these boxes so far in 2023, such as Lauri Peltola, our SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development and Nigel Pearce, our new Head of Manufacturing and Supply Chain who has joined us after a 33-year career at Rolls-Royce. Both are not only highly experienced in their roles, but also true believers in the important role our RotoDynamic Technology plays in decarbonisation.”

 

What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company?

“In December 2022 we carried out a successful first real-world demonstration of our RotoDynamic Technology at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in The Netherlands.  Following this ground-breaking pilot, we’re going to be working over the next 12 months to deploy our game-changing technology in commercial demonstration projects at customer sites aimed to be operational in 2024.” 

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