how we can serve the energy industry
Silver is widely used in the energy sector, silver paste is used within solar panels as contacts printed onto the photovoltaic cells which capture and carry electrical currents. Silver also reflects solar energy into collectors which use salts to generate electricity. Silver is likewise used in the nuclear sector, as control rods to capture neutrons and slow the rate of fission in nuclear reactors.
The coal sector has a large requirement for steels, where they are used to support underground roadways, rails and coal-cutting machinery. Specialised steels are also required in the nuclear industry to contain the reactors and materials, to both moderate the reactions and seal the reactors. They are also used for turbines in nuclear power plants as alloys which can give sustained performance in high temperature and stress environments. The wind industry also requires the use of steels for towers on top of which sit generators which convert the mechanical movement of the blades into energy. Steels are also needed for electrical pylons for the electricity grid. The addition of chromium to stainless steels and super alloys is used wherever corrosion resistant, strong metals are needed, from piston rods on generators to stators on down-hole mud motors. Cobalt is added to the super alloys to give the high temperature strengths needed in engines and gas turbines. Cobalt is also essential to battery production; lithium-ion where it forms up to 60% of the cathode; nickel-cadmium with up to 5% and nickel-metal hydride batteries where it forms 15%.
Copper is at the heart of all electricity generating equipment, present in every home, office and industrial setting as wiring, the wiring in every road vehicle and an essential constituent of the power circuits in most electrical appliances. Copper is also widely used in the photovoltaic industry as a conductor and directly as a component of copper-indium-gallium-selenium solar cells.
Metal powders such as copper, silicon and aluminium are included within the formulations of rechargeable battery cells. Their surface contact area and molecular structure are ideal for conductivity.