Vanadium makes steel stronger, tougher and lighter. Almost 91% of Vanadium is used in the steel industry.
Vanadium makes steel stronger, tougher and lighter. Almost 91% of Vanadium is used in the steel industry.iii The remaining end-use is in non-ferrous alloys, chemicals and other minor applications like batteries.
A general trend in steel use has been a move from basic carbon steels towards highly specified alloyed steels. High strength low alloy steels (HSLA) are the largest market for Vanadium in the steel industry totaling 48% of demand for vanadium. HSLA steels account for approximately 40% of global steel demand and are consumed in a wide range of end products, including, the transport, construction and energy sectors where high strength and low cost are essential requirements.iv HSLA consist of carbon steel, manganese and small amounts of other alloying elements that increase weldability and greater resistance to atmospheric corrosion, abrasion and seismic events.v Vanadium HSLA can be produced in many different product forms such as sheet, plate, sections and bar.
Use of Vanadium in steel is projected to be growing at a 6.5% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).vi Global apparent steel use is forecasted to increase by 3.2% in 2013 to 1.46 Billion tonnes.vii The U.S. Steel Industry shipped 96 million tonnes of steel in 2012 with 40% directed towards the construction sector.viii The construction and engineering sector is also the largest consumer of Vanadium where Vanadium strengthened steel is employed in the production and engineering of buildings, bridges, tunnels and pipelines.````````````````````````
Vanadium is also used in the automotive sector largely for engine components and vehicle structure; in the railway sector for rail steel and railway wagons; and in aerospace for aircraft structural parts, aircraft hydraulic systems, jet engine parts, and space vehicles.x According to the American Iron and Steel Institute the total steel in the average 2010 vehicle is approximately 60%.xi
In the energy sector Vanadium is used in power generation, specifically for steam turbines, boilers, steel poles and towers to run cables, pipelines and offshore platforms.
Examples of Vanadium Products
World Vanadium production is estimated to have been about 76,000 tonnes in 2012. China is the main producer of Vanadium currently accounting for 52% of world supply with South Africa the second largest at 26%.xii Up until 2007, South Africa was the leading producer of vanadium globally.
xiii In more recent years, South African supply has become the subject of concern, with periods of decline in production rates.xiv
From 2006 to 2013, world production grew at a CAGR of 5% almost entirely met by the expansion of the existing producers and the growth in co-production.xvi
Total world consumption reached a record high of 78,000 tonnes in 2012.xvii Since almost all Vanadium is consumed in the production of steel, consumption trends are greatly influenced by the trends in steel production, however, organic growth has also occurred through larger usage of Vanadium in a wider range of steels. Demand drivers include higher quality steel standards in BRICs, the growth of Vanadium use in steel production, and the growth in applications for Vanadium.
Roskill forecasts that global demand for Vanadium will increase by about 28,000 tonnes between 2012 and 2017.xviii The World Steel Association forecasts that steel production will increase by 3% between 2012 and 2017 dependent on both steel market trends and Vanadium usage within steel.xix
Although China is a main world producer of Vanadium, its new government regulations on rebar quality standards are expected to heavily impact the Vanadium market. As these new regulations are implemented in China it is expected that additional quantities of Vanadium will be required to maintain a balanced global market.
Construction trends will also influence the future outlook of Vanadium consumption. Oxford Economics forecasts that U.S. and Chinese construction sectors will expand by between approximately 4.5 – 7.5% from 2016 to 2021: China is expected to experience the strongest construction growth.xx
An increased world demand for all energy sources, including demand for new pipelines and repair of current infrastructure in the oil and gas sector, may further influence the outlook of Vanadium usage.
Overall, Roskill expects a very tight supply/demand market balance for Vanadium with a CAGR of 6.5% through to 2017.xxi