End use demand for molybdenum could increase by an average of 3.6% in the period to 2024.
End use demand for molybdenum could increase by an average of 3.6% in the period to 2024.

Tim Outteridge, secretary-general of the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA), says that end user demand for molybdenum could increase by an average of 3.6% in the period to 2024.

In a presentation at the Argus Metals Week conference in London, entitled ‘Molybdenum market overview and downstream uses’, Mr Outteridge reviewed global molybdenum production and use in 2015, noting a reduction of 9% in use and  10% in production compared to 2014.

He commented that the reduction in use was principally related to a significant fall in demand from the oil and gas sector. This was due to the effect of the low oil price and its impact on exploration and production where molybdenum-bearing steels are widely used. Slower growth in China had also had an impact. However, most other sectors showed only small reductions, with a couple showing modest increases.

Outteridge then outlined a number of sectors expected to generate future demand for molybdenum through use in applications influenced by global megatrends.

Key roles

Automobile lightweighting is one such area, where thinner gauge high-strength steels, many of which contain molybdenum, are used to reduce total vehicle weight for greater efficiency. Molybdenum also plays a key role in hydrodesulfurization of fuels. Using molybdenum-based catalysts, this technology has already achieved a 100-fold reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions from the European vehicle sector since 1993 and will play an important role in the future as emissions standards are tightened across the world.

Thanks to its resistance to corrosion, strength and performance at high temperatures as an alloy, molybdenum finds many uses in power generation, including boosting the efficiency of coal-fired power stations and in a range of applications in renewable energy, including solar, wind and hydropower. Non-fossil energy generation has grown considerably in recent years and is predicted to more than double in the period to 2020.

This story uses material from the IMOAwith editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.