MAST Carbon International Ltd was established in 1994 to carry out research and development into the production and use of synthetic phenolic resin derived activated carbons. At that time this was principally in the areas of catalysis and water treatment. Since then the areas of application for the unique family of structured carbons has grown to include fuel cells, biomedical devices and air purification. Through this period MAST has been entirely self funded through a combination of fully funded commercial research projects, collaborative projects part funded through UK government and EU Framework Projects and license income. The collaborative projects have included TSB projects on micro fuel cells, blood filtration and VOC recovery along with recent EU projects on catalysis, personal; protection and carbon dioxide recovery.
In the electrochemical area MAST is currently involved in the EU projects – Plant Power looking at biological fuel cells, Capmix on power generation through capacitative mixing and Autosupercap developing super capacitors for automotive use. MAST also sits on the management committee of the COST MP1004 – Industrial Supercapacitor group. In the UK Mast is on the management committees of two major University projects aimed at advanced supercapacitors/batteries and biological fuel cells. In these projects MAST’s role is the development and supply of novel controlled structure carbon materials for electrochemical applications based primarily on synthetic precursors.
Since 1994 MAST has grown from 3 to 20 technical staff with a turnover in 2010 of £950,000. This includes a world scale production capability in the area of nanoporous carbon cloth with pilot scale capability for a range of other synthetic carbons. At present MAST’s turnover is split approximately 75:25 between research and development and commercial production - a large and possibly unique commitment to R and D in the SME community. This is reflected in its wide range of publications, patents and conference presentations, several of the latter being invited plenary lectures. MAST is recognized world wide for its R and D in the field of nanoporous synthetic carbons and routinely receives requests to participate in collaborative programmes.
MAST has extensive research, development and production facilities associated with synthetic nanoporous carbons. MAST is one of the largest producers of activated carbon cloth and also has pilot scale facilities for the production of particulate and monolithic phenolic resin derived materials. The facilities include furnaces with capacities from less than a gram to 30m3, along with comprehensive pore structure characterisation (nitrogen and mercury adsorption) and other analytical equipment.