‘Biogas has fourfold potential’

After installing the first private sector power station in Turkey, Topkapi Endustri is a pioneer in the biogas sector, making tits mark in renewable energy. The company has built cogeneration plants for manufacturing facilities since its foundation in 1985. Topkapi Endustri accounts for 50% of the energy generated by biomass power plants and 75% of energy generated by biogas in Turkey. Nearly 100 biogas power plants have been built over the past decade in the country with the support of the Renewable Energy Resources Support Mechanism (YEKDEM). Still, Turkey has the potential to quadruple those numbers, according to Sedat Akar, General Manager of Topkapi Endustri and Board Member of the Bioenergy Association. “Investors are ready,” says Akar, stressing that the sector awaits regulation and a new incentive mechanism from lawmakers.

Renewables create 42% of the country’s total installed power, while over three quarters of the energy consumed in Turkey is generated by conventional energy resources, according to Akar. “Biomass has many components. Organomineral fertilizer, which is produced by adding mineral to the organic fertilizer a process which alsoi produces energy, is the most popular method recently. This is very important for Turkey as 95% of its soils is below the necessary 3% organic matter ratio. Bringing together many branches of government, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the Ministry of Energy, the future of biomass power plants should be discussed thoroughly,” said Akar, stressing that such methods of renewable energy generation have become crucial for the world.

The YEKDEM incentive ended in June for the sector but it expects new incentives. “Investors are ready, lawmakers should make regulations. The pandemic has slowed down the works of the Bioenergy Association. Our talks with ministries will accelerate this autumn,” he adds.

Established as the sister company of Topkapi Akaryakit, Topkapi Endustri concentrates on three main fields, including fuel equipment, energy systems and pneumatic systems. The company has been installing power stations for industrial enterprises since the beginning of the 1990s, when the private sector was allowed to invest in electricity generation. Topkapi Endustri, which built the country’s first private sector power station for the fiber company Yalova Elyaf in 1991, installed ‘Jenbacher Gas Engine Cogeneration Plants’ for industrial enterprises that predominantly consumed electricity and heat at the same time until the 2000s. The Beylikduzu production plant of the coffee company Kahve Dunyasi in Istanbul, Torbali facility of the tobacco company Philip Moris Sabanci in Izmir, facilities of chlorine alkali firm Koruma Klor in Izmit, the Hatay and Denizli and Izmir paper, tape and packaging production plants of Ve-ge are among the facilities where Topkapi Endustri has installed power stations.

Pointing out that the Austria-based Jenbacher meets 50% of global demand as the largest gas engine manufacturer in the world, Akar said: “550 Jenbacher engines, built by Topkapi Endustri, run at nearly 200 facilities generating 1% of the country ’s total installed power. We provide domestic value added to imported input. We increased our localization rate from 1% to some 40% by manufacturing equipment coming from Austria in Turkey, such as containers, Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and sound absorbers.”

Since installing biogas power plants with Jenbacher gas engines for biogas generation from domestic and animal waste at the beginning of 2000s, when renewable energy became popular, Topkapi Endustri has now taken a 34% market share in this area. The company supplies 65% of engines to Turkey’s biogas and landfill gas power plants and has built 50% of the country’s biomass power plants with an installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW). Topkapi Endustri, which employs nearly 100 people, including 40 service technicians and 35 engineers, recorded a turnover of EUR 40m in 2020.

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