Molybdenum Research and Innovations

Moly is a strategic mineral that markedly increases the strength, heat resistance, and durability of stainless steel products. Nearly every project identified by the Trump Administration’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure initiative, including building new pipelines, replacing crumbling bridges, transforming railways and girding up tunnels that are critical to transportation, commerce and safety, will require moly-enhanced steel.

Current uses of moly include: bridge and building construction, especially where pollution/salt/volcanic exposure are factors; pipelines for petrol and drinking water delivery; manufacturing automobiles/ships/rockets/aircraft; lubrication for high heat purposes; agricultural fertilizer to boost crop production; fuel cell technology; mobile phones; and computers.

Moly innovations are also driving exciting advancements in medical, technological, and renewable energy research.

Lithium-Ion Battery

Increasing concern regarding the global energy crisis and environmental pollution has stimulated worldwide research of the sustainable and renewable energy storage systems. Modern battery technology moves electric cars, assists with storing emergency power, keeps satellites used for national security in orbit and powers portable electronic devices which has made nearly every aspect of life, mobile. Emerging technology is making it conceivable that airplanes and even entire cities could soon be powered by batteries and solar energy. Based on this research, molybdenum technology could replace cobalt and deliver at least 4 to 5 times more power than the cobalt-based batteries. The impact of molybdenum on the battery industry is still developing but all research is projecting favorable outcomes.

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X-ray Technology

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory announces advancements in its long-term x-ray technology research which integrates a “specially coated and polished slug of molybdenum”. The developing technology has increased x-ray pulses from 120 pulses per second to 1 million pulses per second which can produce atomic- and molecular-scale “movies”.

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Semiconductor Technology

Research from the National University of Singapore establishes molybdenum as key to next-generation, two-dimensional semiconductors. Moly is the first viable alternative to silicon in semiconductor technology as it is important to emerging technologies instrumental in developing smaller, faster and more energy efficient computers.

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Reducing vehicle weight is one means of lowering fuel consumption and will increasingly become a priority as emission limits decrease. Auto makers seek solutions for manufacturing larger vehicles that consumers desire while making them lighter and stronger to meet safety standards. Moly steel is effective in all these areas.

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Power Generation

Global energy demand continues to increase, and renewable/low carbon sources can’t meet the need. The gap is filled with fossil fuels, specifically, coal. A top priority for the energy sector is to improve the efficiency of coal-fired plants as they produce the most carbon emissions. To maximize efficiency of coal-fired plants the steam temperature must be raised to 700 degrees Celsius which is where molybdenum can help. Moly’s high-temperature capacity improves the efficiency of coal-fired plants and reduces carbon emissions.

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Architecture, Building and Construction

The iron and steel industry has one of the largest carbon footprints of any single industry contributing nearly 4 percent of the global man-made emissions. The use of a molybdenum-enhanced product called HSS, a molybdenum-containing high-strength steel used in heavy load construction, in some cases increases load capacity ranging from 20 to 40 percent. The net-net is an overall reduction in carbon emissions.

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Desalination Plants

Fresh and safe drinking water is crucial to sustaining life, yet 97 percent of the world’s water is too salty for consumption. Desalination is a technological process that use intense heat and a high-pressure filtration system to remove the salt and produce potable water. Early desalination plants used mild steel which made them susceptible to corrosion. Modern plants are constructed using moly-enhanced steel which has substantially decreased the corrosion commonly observed in desalination plants making such operations significantly more sustainable.

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Thin Film Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Greenhouse gas(GHG) driven climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the 21st century. Twenty-five percent of GHG is produced from electric power generation. While solar power emits no carbon dioxide, traditional photovoltaic materials use thick, rigid wafers of crystalline silicon to create solar panels that are limited in application. Emerging solar energy technology utilizes thin films that are flexible and more scalable, but the conversion efficiency is much lower than traditional solar panels. The newest technologies are integrating molybdenum to create the thinnest, highest-temperature and corrosion resistant films that improve conversion efficiency by 2 percent. Molybdenum is increasing the efficiency and broadening the application of carbon dioxide-free energy.

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Plant Micronutrients

Molybdenum is an important plant micronutrient. One study identified moly as the second most common micronutrient deficiency in large cropland soils. Moly deficiency is often misdiagnosed as nitrogen deficiency that leads to overuse of nitrogen fertilizer which has negative impacts on the environment, specifically, rivers and oceans. Molybdenum improves soil quality and has demonstrated increases of up to 60 percent in the yield of grain crops. Increasing crop yield and decreasing the use of nitrogen fertilizers is a win-win for the environment and meeting the food demand for the growing global population.

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