Sunlight Group at the Delphi Economic Forum VIII
Athens, 02 May 2023
Participating at the panel “Investments in Energy: RES & ESS” Lampros Bisalas, CEO of Sunlight Group, discussed the significant role of energy storage in the green transition and presented the company’s investments for the vertical integration of its production of lithium-ion batteries.
Sunlight Group Energy Storage Systems, a technology company specializing in integrated and innovative off-road mobility batteries for the intralogistics sector and Energy Storage Systems for RES, was present at the Delphi Economic Forum VIII. The company’s CEO, Lampros Bisalas, participated at the panel “Investments in Energy: RES & ESS.”
Mr. Bisalas initially referred to the rapid growth of Sunlight Group, as the company currently employs more than 3,100 people worldwide, and operates 15 plants and 5 R&D centers. He also stressed the company's goal to continue growing at the same, if not greater, rate, as it keeps increasing its market share. To that end, Sunlight has executed a series of M&As aiming at geographical expansion and vertical integration, as well as organic growth via the development and production of applications for industrial mobility and innovative solutions for energy storage from renewables.
Commenting on the industrial mobility sector, the first to become electrified, Mr. Bisalas noted that 80% of the global forklift fleet is battery-powered. And in that context, he highlighted the leading role of Sunlight Group in the sector, stating that “it’s a 40+ years market, in which Sunlight has 30 years of expertise.” Furthermore, he stressed the company's commitment to also play a global leadership role in the sector of energy storage from renewables, with a €100 mil. investment in a dedicated production unit in the area of Kilkis, northern Greece.
Mr. Bisalas also noted that Sunlight Group focuses on its full vertical integration. Having already vertically integrated its production of lead-acid batteries, the company is now investing in the development of lithium cells, having created a strong R&D team comprising 200 specialized scientists. Commenting on the pilot line for the production of prototype lithium cells being installed in Sunlight Group's industrial complex in Xanthi, one of the few of its kind worldwide and the first in SE Europe, Mr. Bisalas said:
"The pilot line is a significant and preparatory investment for the company's ambitious goal to establish, on Greek soil, the first Gigafactory producing lithium-ion cells; a strategic investment that will exceed €1.5 bn. Such emblematic endeavors carry both national and European importance and thus require necessary support in terms of processes and permits to enable their implementation. For our country to join a ‘closed club’ of technology companies that produce lithium cells, especially in the western world, it’s necessary to have in place a supporting framework, following the example of the Inflation Reduction Act applied in the US. A comprehensive legislative framework that has greatly boosted our sector, while supporting sustainability, energy transition and security."
In closing, Mr. Bisalas described Recycling as a philosophy at the heart of Sunlight Group’s DNA – both in social and business terms. In that context, he referred to the state-of-the-art lead recycling plant that the company operates in Komotini, northeastern Greece, currently producing 50,000 tons of recycled lead per year; output that will be more than doubled, exceeding 100,000 tons per year, through targeted investments.
Regarding the recycling of lithium-ion batteries, the CEO of Sunlight Group presented the ReLiFe project, a pilot R&D project implemented in collaboration with various entities, institutions, and academic partners. The project has received €3.5 mil. in EU funding, while the company also intends to invest €30 million in own funds. Concluding on the company's recycling efforts for lithium batteries, Mr. Bisalas said: "For us it’s certain that within the next three years Sunlight will be operating a recycling plant for lithium batteries. The optimal solution to effectuate that is being explored worldwide and we’re in the process of developing the relevant technology, in the context of the ReLiFe project being implemented."