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Silver Demand in Auto Industry Expected to Surge and Other Silver News

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The use of silver in the automotive sector is expected to surge in the coming years, according to the feature story in this month’s edition of the Silver Institute’s Silver News.

With modern cars using more silver than ever in their advanced technology components, analysts project the auto industry will likely need nearly 90 million ounces of silver annually by 2025.

In four years, silver consumption in the automotive sector should rival that of the photovoltaic (solar) industry. The solar energy market is currently the largest industrial user of silver. Demand is forecast to reach 98 million ounces in 2025.

But it’s taking more and more silver to build modern automobiles. According to the Silver Institute, the white metal is used extensively in vehicle electrical control units that manage a wide range of functions in the engine and main cabin. These functions include infotainment systems, navigation systems, electric power steering, and safety features, such as airbag deployment systems, automatic braking, security, and driver alertness systems.

The move to autonomous driving should also lead to an escalation of vehicle complexity, requiring even more silver consumption.

The latest edition of Silver News also highlights some other fascinating technological advances utilizing the white metal along with some developments in the silver market.

  • Metrolink — Southern California’s regional passenger train service — has added silver and copper-based antimicrobial filters to its train cars to keep passengers and train employees safe from airborne germs.
  • Led by industrial use and physical silver investment, global silver demand is projected to achieve an eight-year high of 1.025 billion ounces in 2021, according to an analysis published by the Silver Institute.
  • Scientists at Kanazawa University in Japan have developed a method for extracting silver and other metals from acidic wastewater using an environmentally-friendly method that involves cellulose, the main building block of green plants.
  • What if wearables could be powered by electricity generated by the body’s own heat? Researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) are studying whether an ordinary thermocouple — two different pieces of metal that generate electricity when sandwiched together in the presence of heat — could generate enough electrical energy to operate a wearable device like heart rate or blood pressure monitors without the need for batteries.
  • Scientists at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have found a new way to harden metals, including silver, by smashing together nanoclusters of the metal. Not only were the metals harder, but in the case of silver, in particular, the metal’s exceptional reflective and electrical conductivity properties remained the same. This is especially important for silver because it is too soft for some industrial applications where its other properties would be welcomed.
  • Silver aids faster and more accurate diagnosis of tumors and other growths.

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