Creating history, then and now

For over 165 years, Rain Carbon Inc. (RCI) and its heritage companies have used their calcination and distillation processes to convert industrial carbon by-products into valuable raw materials for many world industries.

RCI is the Stamford, USA holding company, which integrates the Rain CII and RÜTGERS businesses under a unified, global management team. RCI brings together not only 20 production sites and around 1650 employees across North America, Asia and Europe, but also more than 220 total years of continuously evolving experience in the production of carbon-based materials.

While historical names like Kaiser, RÜTGERS, Conoco, RAG, Evonik, and numerous others make up the pillars of our experienced past, it is RCI’s culture of constant innovation, reinvention and evolution that propels us into the future.

Calcination – Rain CII

RCI’s calcination roots date back to the USA in 1959 with a single calciner built by Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation (KACC) in the state of Mississippi, USA, to convert petroleum coke, a solid carbon by-product of the oil refining industry into an essential raw material for the production of aluminum anodes. Three more US Gulf Coast calciners were later built under KACC, and in 1988, these operations became the independently-owned CII Carbon LLC (CII). CII went on to grow through the acquisition of another three domestic US calcining plants including two from a Conoco joint-venture company.

Meanwhile, in 1998, Rain Calcining Limited (RCL), an independent start-up based in India, constructed Asia’s largest calcination facility in the port city of Visakhapatnam (Vizag), India. In 2005, RCL doubled its capacity through the expansion of the Vizag facility.

In mid-2007, RCL acquired CII, and the companies changed their national corporate names to Rain CII Carbon (Vizag) Limited (RCCVL) and Rain CII Carbon LLC (RCC). The unified “Rain CII” brand became well known as one of the world’s largest producers of calcined petroleum coke (CPC).

Distillation – RÜTGERS

RCI’s distillation roots date back to the German industrial pioneer, Julius Rütgers, who founded a company that was later to become the RÜTGERS Group. In 1849, the 18-year-old entrepreneur took over his father’s troubled wood impregnation business for the production of railway sleeper ties.

When it became evident to the entrepreneur that coal tar could not only be used as an impregnation agent, but that it also contained innumerable, valuable compounds, Rütgers set up his first coal tar distillation plant close to Berlin to convert that by-product into numerous useful products by breaking it apart to extract those compounds. Distillation allowed RÜTGERS to greatly diversify its product line and risk profile, and to grow the company’s business in new directions. This marked not only a turning point in the company’s history, but the beginning of aromatic chemistry in Germany. The demand for RÜTGERS’ products grew tremendously, and the company established itself as a leading German chemicals company.

Among other products, RÜTGERS sold aniline to producers of dyes and coatings, and in the 1910s, the company invented and produced the first synthetic plastic material based on the production of hardenable phenolic resins: the world-renowned Bakelite. Shortly after the first successful electrolysis of aluminum in the 1880s, RÜTGERS developed a new business line, delivering the emerging aluminum producers with coal tar pitch as a high-performance binder for their essential carbon anodes.

A period of organic and acquisition growth followed in the second half of the 20th century as RÜTGERS strengthened itself through the integration of many renowned companies from the steel, coal tar, aluminum and chemicals industries throughout Europe and Canada. The Société Chimique de Selzaete in Zelzate (later RÜTGERS Belgium), Domtar (later RUETGERS Canada) at Hamilton, Handy Chemicals Ltd. (later RUETGERS Polymers) in Candiac, the Kędzierzyn-Koźle-based RUETGERS Poland Sp. z o.o. and the Neville Chemical Europe BV in Uithoorn, Netherlands (later RÜTGERS Resins BV) — each contributed to the growth of RÜTGERS.

In the 1970s, RÜTGERS was integrated into RAG, a German corporation that restructured in 2007 into Evonik Group, which subsequently established the independent RÜTGERS Group. As a stand-alone group of companies, RÜTGERS Group was able to not only increase its efficiency and profitability, it also expanded its international business activity and, most recently, implemented the joint venture RÜTGERS Severtar with a new, state-of-the-art distillation site in Cherepovets, Russia.