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Silver Institute: 'Green Technologies' To Require More Silver

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - So-called “green technologies,” meant to better protect the environment while meeting the demands of consumers, should boost silver demand in the future, says a report from the Silver Institute.

In particular, the report cited an expectation for exponential growth of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) and continued investment in solar photovoltaic energy. The combined demand from these two sources will exceed 1.5 million ounces by 2030, the report estimated.

The Silver Institute is an industry association based in Washington D.C., with members consisting of silver producers, refiners, manufacturers and dealers. The report, titled “The Role of Silver in the Green Revolution,” was prepared for the institute by CRU, a commodities consultancy.

The report pointed out that the cost of solar photovoltaic systems has fallen rapidly relative to other electrical sources over the past two decades. Silver is used to conduct electricity.

“This is expected to continue over the medium term, leading to an ever-increasing share in renewable energy generation and investment for PV, led by both macroeconomic/cost considerations and public policy,” the Silver Institute said.

The report estimated that roughly some 820 million ounces of silver will be used by global solar energy applications through 2030.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to curb pollution, many governments have provided financial incentives and passes new regulations favoring the development of electric and hybrid vehicles, the Silver Institute said. In fact, China, the largest car market in the world, is gradually moving from incentives for buying electric vehicles to actually penalizing manufacturers who fail to offer NEV models, the Silver Institute said.

“Spurred on by this policy support, as well as falling costs, new energy vehicles such as battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will account for an ever-increasing proportion of global vehicle sales,” the Silver Institute said. “A potential game changer for transportation is the use of inductively coupled power transfer technology to wirelessly charge vehicles using silver-plated induction coils.  Though current market penetration remains low, improvements in performance and cost can open significant opportunities for wireless charger adoption in the coming years.”

These efforts are forecast to require approximately 725 million ounces of silver through 2030, the report said.

Further, the Siler Institute pointed out that silver is also used in the generation of nuclear energy. Silver is used with other metals to produce the reactors’ control rods.  One of the most common materials used is an alloy that is 80% silver, 15% indium and 5% cadmium.

“Though small in terms of expected offtake at 19 million ounces of total silver demand through 2030, demand for silver in this area could rise with future growth of nuclear reactors globally,” the Silver Institute said.

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