This article is part 1 of 3 for the introduction of Pasi Pesonen, VP Sales at Filtrabit.
From his first position at Unilever to Filtrabit, clean is the common business you can find throughout his international career. After 30 years abroad, he has returned to Finland to find the adventure he didn’t know he was looking for.
You spent years in large international companies leading large customers and sales organizations in Singapore, Amsterdam, Prague and Stockholm. Why Filtrabit and Finland?
– I was already putting my name on an international employment contract similar to the previous one. We had everything packed up in the Port of Helsinki, because I was sure that we would go back into the world, as we had done for 30 years. During those years, we had only spent two or three-year periods in Finland.
I want to give back to Finland what I’ve learned from global giants.
I wanted to go and see Finnish companies for the first time in my career after starting directly from international Unilever.
Finland had changed dramatically during the years I was abroad. It’s much more internationally relevant and great innovations and businesses can now reach the world from here.
Covid taught us all that there is no limit to the amount of work that can be done from anywhere. Then again, you yourself need to create those limits for your workload to stay sane.
Creating a new business, even a new category, is such an inspiring opportunity for me after the established industries, product categories and companies. I couldn’t miss it after hearing what kind of inspired innovation, functional technology and market potential Filtrabit has in its hands.
Climate tech is by definition global.
The fact that the innovation has been developed in Oulu, Finland, in the Nordic countries or in Europe is not relevant. The most important thing is that our technology can be commercialized and scaled to help solve the global climate crisis as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, the development environment for the Filtrabit flow-dynamic filter has been the steel industry, the coking oven at SSAB’s Raahe factory. We’ve started where we can make the biggest impact. The steel industry is one of the largest producers of carbon dioxide and consumers of energy.
We’re also in progress with customers to bring the innovation to some of the other most impactful industries, such as cement production and mining.
What I found here is relentless motivation to tackle global climate and health issues. It’s infectious.
We are creating a new market for which environmental requirements and stricter regulation will inevitably create demand. But the most important driver is people’s health. Industrial plants and locations form not only an economic, but also a human ecosystem.
Negotiations with industry sometimes proceed too quickly for us because the need for effective dust removal and filtration of fine particles is urgent. However, we must have the composure to proceed in accordance with a precise preliminary process. In our test equipment, we want to run the customer’s actual dust sample and take care of the dimensioning and installation design by-the-book.
For some reason, there has been little renewal in the dust removal business, let alone breakthroughs through completely new innovations. We still haven’t seen a direct competitor for Filtrabit and are left wondering why no one developed anything similar earlier.
We’re constantly seeing unmet needs that relate to the 4th industrial revolution. Our goal is to be the new industry standard for dust control.
Someone has said: “The brutal truth is, that you need to turn all product benefits into either money or a matter of life and death.”
So far, it has not been possible in practice for a lot of industries to remove PM 2.5 and even smaller fine particles. They are the most harmful to humans when inhaled. They don’t just stay in the lungs, but also get into the bloodstream and, consequently, everywhere in a person. Fine particles cause cancers and premature deaths, and a host of other problems.
The uninterrupted production and heat recovery are important benefits of our technology, but when the customer focuses on the importance of occupational health, then we are not talking about money, but about a much bigger theme. About the needs of the wider community. The company is responsible for what kind of air the community near the plant breathes. Corporate citizenship is a particularly concrete issue in our projects.
On the scale of values, our customers have made the health benefit perspective number one. We are only now beginning to understand the true importance of the Filtrabit innovation globally.
What does Filtrabit look like in 5 years?
– The ideal is that the factory can be put anywhere in the future. The urban factory will no longer be a utopia. Industry is coming back to being part of cities.
We can become a valuable asset – even a strategic partner for our customers.
We don’t know what we will be in 5 years. But I’m sure it’s something enormous.
Filtrabit technology will revolutionize this industry and create a new market. Defining the market is close to guesswork at the moment, as it’s growing at such a rapid pace. Few things are more important than the air you breathe. The main risk is that we will move too slowly.