Work continues around the world to introduce electricity to millions of people who still can’t access it. Simultaneously, existing electricity systems are undergoing a significant transformation. This transformation is occurring both regards to resource choice for electricity generation and the forms and fields of energy consumption. Technologies in this field are rapidly developing, and services and products that will affect all of us are on the docket. In simple terms, these products can be described as as cells, batteries, and accumulator solutions.
But what’s the situation in Turkey? We know that we have a population that uses technology at high levels and adapts to new technology quickly. We can look at the use of televisions, computers, and smartphones can be considered as examples of this. However, as a country we don’t demonstrate the same level of performance in in technology development and product manufacturing.
However, there are some good examples. Aspilsan, which is known for its battery systems used by both the military and civilians, has taken a step towards localize these products and solutions. Ahmet Altinay, R&D Manager of Aspilsan answered questions posed by daily DUNYA.
►Why is Aspilsan involved in these systems?
Aspilsan was founded 40 years ago to reduce reliance on imported batteries and manufacture products to close the domestic gap in this sector. Now, we continue working with with the same mission. Aspilsan began its battery production with nickel-cadmium technology, and since the beginning of the 2000s has manufactured lithium batteries. Now, the company will put into operation Europe’s first cylindrical cell manufacturing plant in Turkey.
►What kind of change will this cylindrical cell production cause?
Aspilsan will continue to produce 300 different types of batteries. It manufactures lithium ion-based batteries at a high level, as well as nickel-cadmium and metal hydride solutions. Battery cells produced at the cylindrical cell manufacturing plant will be used in the batteries that we manufacture. The foundation of the production plant was laid in 2020, it is now under construction. 85% of the facility has physically been completed. Production equipment is expected to be transferred to the facility at the end of November. We aim to produce the first cells by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
►Where do you currently buy battery cells?
We currently buy battery cells that we use in our battery packages from abroad. Their domestic production will enable the formation of a supply chain network in Turkey. The most important goal of our R&D on battery design is the nationalization of materials that are used in battery components. To do this, Aspilsan is carrying out a joint project with Eti Mine Works (Eti Maden). Our battery manufacturing will use lithium obtained from their boron waste. Moreover, materials like cobalt and nickel extracted in Turkey may be used in domestic battery cell production in the future. We aim to create an ecosystem freed from external dependence.
►Where are cylindrical cells used?
They have extensive usage possibilities. These batteries are used in the medical, transportation, and military sectors, as well as in rail transportation systems. Our cells can be used in any field that needs energy. The development of the battery cell design lies at the heart of this investment. This will have a positive impact. We are preparing to invest in near future in pouch cell battery and lithium-ion prismatic cell battery production.
►How will this raise the local content rate of your existing batteries?
Our localization rate currently hovers around 50%. This rate will reach 97% when we have domestic battery cells. This demonstrates the value that will be created. In terms of the mining strategy, we’ll also prevent products extracted in Turkish mines from being sent abroad and returned to the country after they are processed. The formation of a battery ecosystem in Turkey is slowly taking shape under our leadership. Now it’s possible for these mined materials to be directly processed in our country, become usable, and be used in our battery cells. Turkey has started to realize this process, from mines to final output. There are also subcomponents of battery cells called electrodes and electrolytes. Chemical, mining, and metal companies that produce these sub-components can also become our stakeholders.
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