With Turkey's recently developed technology to produce elemental boron with 96 percent purity, the country is set to become a prominent exporter of the material with the help of a new project.
The project, developed by Yıldırım Beyazıt University in Ankara in cooperation with a defense industry firm, will be used particularly in fuel supplies for space rockets and for long-range missiles.
"There have been very important research and development studies regarding boron in recent years, and the most valuable product that is developed from boron is 'elemental boron'," Mükerrem Şahin, head of the project team and assistant professor at the Faculty of Natural Sciences in Middle East Technical University (METU) told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
"It is a well-known fact that these kinds of products are widely used in space and aviation defense industry and in the production of long-range missiles. As a result of our studies which have been ongoing for a while, the laboratory and industrial conditions of the boron have been finalized and it is now at the production stage. The necessary approval and accreditation process is ongoing," he noted.
Preliminary approval has been given to the team who applied for a patent for the technology, Şahin said.
"A facility to develop elemental boron with this new technology has been constructed. This represents the first facility to be established, and thanks to it, we learned that Turkey is able to develop this technology at an industrial scale," he asserted.
Şahin hailed the project as important for Turkey as one of the few countries capable of producing the product with such purity on a global scale.
"In the end, we are able to construct the system to develop our product with 96 percent purity. Product analyses showed that the product with such purity can be used in long-range missiles and space rockets. This is very important since there are only three to five countries which produce pure boron on such a scale," he said.
The U.S., Russia and Israel are some of these countries which developed the technology to attain high purity boron at an industrial scale and are exporting the product all around the world.
Şahin shared that the price of boron per ton is normally between $300 and $400, however, the new boron product's value per ton will increase to between $4 and $5 million.
"Therefore this product will contribute to Turkey's export potential. We now aim to construct a bigger facility to produce this elemental boron," he said.
The most critical boron deposits around the globe are in Turkey, Russia and the U.S. Turkey is ranked top with its share of almost 73 percent in the global boron reserve standing, according to Turkey's National Boron Research Institute BOREN.
Boron is generally used in household and industrial cleaners for cleaning, laundering or bleaching. It is used in soaps, detergents, as well as personal care materials such as whitening toothpaste.
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