International Copper Association: Five major trends in the copper industry in 2018

Issuing time:2018-05-22 09:28

2017 is an extraordinary year for the global copper industry. Looking forward to 2018, the following five major trends are expected to lead the industry.

The electric vehicle market drives demand for copper. With the introduction of several new electric vehicles, electric vehicles are expected to see explosive growth in 2018.

Ten countries in the world are in the forefront of the electric vehicle sector, with a market share of 95%. Sorted by market share, these countries are China, the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada. Driven by technological improvements, price cuts and the popularity of charging stations, by 2025, one in six vehicles is expected to be powered by electricity.

Electric vehicle technology is highly dependent on copper. Its copper demand is expected to increase from 185,000 tons in 2017 to 1.74 million tons in 2027. Copper is used in many key parts of electric vehicles, such as batteries, motors, charging stations and supporting facilities. In addition, the more advanced the electric vehicle technology, the greater the demand for copper. Internal combustion engines usually use 23 kilograms of copper, hybrid electric vehicles use 40 kilograms of copper, plug-in hybrids use 60 kilograms of copper, and pure battery-powered electric vehicles require as much as 83 kilograms of copper.

The water crisis is getting worse

Water stress is suffering all over the world. Some areas have been dry and rainless, while others have been flooding, resulting in a lack of clean drinking water resources in many areas. These problems are becoming more and more serious as the demand for water resources grows, the constant impact of climate change and the lack of efficient water supply facilities. In many areas where water crises are rampant, integrated system facilities such as pipelines, treatment plants, and sewer systems needed to transport, treat, and discharge water bodies are either in poor condition or not at all.

As water and natural water infrastructure continue to wear out, finding practical solutions is becoming increasingly important. In this way, copper has a place to use. Copper is a durable, reliable and stable metal that is especially suitable for the laying of plumbing installations. Its good impermeability prevents pollutants such as oil, pesticides and fertilizers from entering the water system. Unlike lead, copper also has anti-corrosion ability and is also a nutrient necessary for human growth and development.

Many cities in the United States and Canada have begun using copper water pipes instead of lead pipes. Copper water supply facilities have been successfully put into use in many cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Milwaukee and Flint, Michigan, which is a testament to copper – an important material that can bring clean water to areas of the world where it is needed. .

Electrified future

According to the International Energy Agency's recently published World Energy Outlook 2017, the rise of electrification means that electricity will enter the fields of cars, heating and cooling systems that were originally limited to fuel supply.

The increase in people's income has enabled millions of households to use a variety of electrical and refrigeration equipment, which will inevitably drive the growth of electricity demand around the world. India and Indonesia are also very impressive in terms of power demand growth. In addition, in sub-Saharan Africa, its electrification development rate exceeded the population growth rate for the first time in 2014.

A large amount of copper is used for power generation, distribution and transmission. Copper is an excellent conductive material that excels at high temperatures, which helps the electrical system be integrated into large power grids.

Renewable energy growth momentum is gratifying

In 2015, wind and solar power accounted for 23% of global electricity generation. With the increase in wind and solar power generation capacity, this proportion is expected to rise to 30% by 2020.

The demand for renewable energy has been high worldwide. From wind turbines to solar panels, copper is a key component of renewable energy technologies. Wind turbines use copper as a grounding wire, transmission cable, transformer, frequency converter, lightning protection, and some materials for their generators and control systems. Only one wind power station will use 4 million pounds (1800 tons) to 15 million pounds (6800 tons) of copper.

Copper is also used as a key component of solar power systems to improve the energy efficiency, reliability and performance of photovoltaic cells and components. Copper's excellent electrical and thermal conductivity plays a vital role in the collection, storage and distribution of solar energy.

The rise of flexible architecture

At present, the construction industry consumes 30% of the world's final energy, and the energy saving potential is considerable. As the demand for sustainable buildings grows, the benefits of green construction continue to emerge and are favored in the global construction market.

China is making great efforts to improve building sustainability. China's “13th Five-Year Plan for Building Energy Efficiency and Green Building Development” requires that 50% of new urban buildings must be certified for green buildings. Already 90% of Chinese commercial building owners plan to build at least one building with zero or near zero energy consumption in the next 10 years. The EU is also continuing to work in this area. Reducing the energy consumption of buildings is decisive for the EU to achieve its commitment to the Paris Agreement and is the main focus of its Clean Energy Plan.

The use of copper in home construction is almost endless, and its uses include roof and wall cladding, flashing, gutters and drains, wire wiring, piping, heating systems, ventilation systems and design elements. The copper is solid and durable, and its service life is comparable to the life of the building. There is no need to replace it in the middle. In addition, copper as a building material has the advantages of corrosion resistance, oxidation resistance, low maintenance cost, light weight and bacteriostasis.