IMOA’s Secretary General, Tim Outteridge, gave a presentation to the Metals for Energy and the Environment Conference in Las Vegas in June, entitled ‘Molybdenum, Sustainability and the Environment’.
Attended by producers, traders, recyclers, end users and others with an interest in the metal and mineral industries, the conference was an important opportunity to raise awareness of how molybdenum contributes to sustainable development.
Starting with a description of molybdenum and some of its key properties, Mr Outteridge outlined the challenges to sustainable development arising from global energy demand, industrialisation and urbanisation. Taking each of these drivers in turn, he demonstrated how the key attributes of molybdenum were being put to use in the development of sustainable practices and technologies.
Molybdenum has a unique combination of properties, making it an important enabler of many sustainable technologies through its use as an alloy and occasionally as a primary component. In different alloys, molybdenum enhances strength, even at high temperatures, maintains toughness, increases durability and provides exceptional resistance to corrosion. Chemically, it is ideal as a catalyst and as a metal its high electrical and thermal conductivity make it suitable for many sustainable uses.
“Molybdenum has an enormous contribution to make to sustainable development and I used the presentation to outline the critical role it plays in many such technologies and applications,” said Mr Outteridge. “In high strength steels, it is used for ‘lightweighting’ cars and trucks and reduces raw material and energy use in construction projects; vehicle engines and power stations run more efficiently at the higher temperatures enabled by moly-containing alloys; and it is used in stainless steel building facades which can reduce or eliminate the need for air conditioning, often the biggest component of energy use in a building.
“Molybdenum has a key role in hydroelectric, wind and solar renewable energy generation and helps to protect the environment through its applications in catalysts for the production of ultra-low sulfur diesel. It is also used in alloys for flue gas desulfurization installations at power stations.
“Molybdenum has a great deal to offer to a world which must rapidly address the challenges of sustainable development. A great many technologies and applications that make a contribution depend on moly, most of which are already in use today, actively contributing to a more sustainable future.”