Ferroalloys: A Fundamental Component of Modern Engineering and Infrastructure
Every year, more than 50 MT ferroalloys are produced worldwide. Ferroalloys are a master alloys of iron containing one or more non-ferrous metals that are used as alloying elements. Nobel or speciality ferroalloys are high-valued and consumed in smaller quantities compared to bulk ferroalloys. They are vital additives in the production of speciality steels and super alloys. Sustained adoption of Nobel ferroalloys for high-temperature applications such as power plants, turbine engines, pollution control equipment, and furnaces is expected to significantly account for accelerated growth of global ferroalloys market.
Growth trends in ferroalloys industry are closely associated with iron and steel industry. While Industry 4.0 has been transforming steel industry, it will push global production to 2.0 BT by the year 2030. Presently, steelmaking accounts for more than three-fourth of the total ferroalloy demand. Ferroalloys are added to steel for improved resistance to corrosion, and wear, as well as for attaining enhanced tensile strength. Manganese, chrome, and silicon are the principal ferroalloys used across industries. Steel industry is considered crucial for the development of any progressive economy, and the backbone of advanced engineering. As steelmaking businesses continue to surge ahead, ferroalloys market will also remain on an uptrend.
China, riding the wave of modernisation, has invested massively in steel processing industry. The largest producer, China accounts for over 50% of the world’s steel production. Growth in infrastructure projects compared to weak residential construction has been key driving force behind rising steel consumption. China has also taken a giant leap in the production of ferroalloys with advanced technologies and innovation. The North American region is the largest importer of ferroalloys with major imports from South Africa, Georgia, Russia, China, Malaysia, and Australia. Steel industry in the US is likely to exhibit modest growth due to slowdown in construction and automotive industry, which in turn will favour the growth of ferroalloys market.
High Energy Costs and Market Balance an Achilles Heel of Industry
Production of ferroalloys is considered among one of the most energy- and coke-intensive processes in the industry. Ferroalloys manufacturers spend around 40-60% of their production costs on energy consumption and it is estimated that around 100 MT CO2 emissions are generated in the overall ferroalloy production process. Coke, and coal collectively tend to contribute the highest (50%) share to the total GHG emissions in the production process. Energy efficiency, and high energy costs have become a stumbling block in the ferroalloy production, especially in the countries like India, and South Africa where power tariffs are on a higher side. Due to high power consumption, the industry’s production utilisation rate is highly volatile.
The demand in ferroalloys market is predominantly determined by advancements in iron and steel industry. Rising trade tensions between the US, and China, and significant developments like Brexit, and Section 232 are likely to make bearish sentiment among the major steelmakers worldwide, over the next few years. With surplus supply, there has been a drastic drop in manganese, and chromium alloys. Modest steel demand, and uncertainty in automotive industry during COVID-19 crisis also added to the market woes, significantly influencing the performance of ferroalloys market.
New Energy Saving Production Technologies to Ensure Sustenance
Companies in Europe, and North America are focused on investing and developing new technologies to ensure energy savings and radically reduce CO2 emissions. Manufacturers are emphasising innovation with improved resource efficiency, and less environmental impact, which marks an important trend in ferroalloys market space that would shape up its future in long run. Ferroalloy producers are evaluating the possibility to replace fossil coal with charcoal as the primary energy source to reduce carbon emissions. Use of biomass as fuel will further help the industry meet sustainable climate policies.
Furthermore, key manufacturers in ferroalloys market such as The Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) are also exploring the possibility to install more units at processing facilities to use waste gases for electricity generation. Another ferroalloy producer in Norway, Finnfjord AS has invested in the heat recovery system that generates around 340 GWh of power. It is considered among some of the world’s most energy-efficient, and environment-friendly facilities.
Ferroalloys Market Participants Focus on In-house Integrated Production Capabilities, and Capacity Expansions
In a bid to secure business from future uncertainties such as volatility in supply of raw materials and energy costs, the manufacturers have shifted their focus on in-house production capacities. SAIL, one of the largest producers of steel in India has emphasised self-reliance for input material/ferroalloys for better cost efficiency. Raw material integration continues to help SAIL remain committed to the Ministry of Steel’s target of increase in steel production with better efficacies.
In 2019, AMG Vanadium ground broke a second ferroalloy facility in Ohio (US) to meet the growing demand steel and refining industries. The company is focused on creating valuable speciality metals from discarded waste (like oil refinery, and power plant waste) with its waste recovery and energy conservation systems. In 2019, TNC Kazchrome JSC commenced its operations at a new smelting furnace. A massive modernisation project also includes three more technologically upgraded furnaces with better productivity, and greater energy efficiency. The facility will also collect the waste gas to be further utilised to heat charge the furnace.
The Global Ferroalloys Market Is Segmented As Below:
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global Ferroalloys Market
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