Carbon black

Also known as: Furnace black

Carbon black is a specialty product, mad up of solid carbon in a fine powder form.

Carbon black from petroleum is typically produced by thermal decomposition and partial combustion of highly aromatic resid material, especially FCC slurry and pitch from a steam cracker.

The major uses for carbon black are as a filler in rubber (tire) production and as a pigment (black) in inks and paints.

For a refiner, carbon black production is a route to increasing the value of FCC slurry which is otherwise a very low-value product, usually blended into residual fuel oil.

Few refiners have on-site carbon black plants. Most are stand-alone, third-party plants that source FCC slurry from multiple refineries.

The Refinery Reference Desk includes content derived from our industry experts as well as from public data sources such as company websites. Nothing herein is intended to serve as investment advice. This material is based on information that we believe to be reliable and adequately comprehensive, but we do not represent that such information is in all respects accurate or complete. McKinsey Energy Insights does not accept any liability for any losses resulting from use of the content.

McKinsey uses cookies to improve site functionality, provide you with a better browsing experience, and to enable our partners to advertise to you. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this Site, and how you can decline them, is provided in our cookie policy. By using this Site or clicking on "OK", you consent to the use of cookies.