What emerging technologies will impact on the prices and demand for precious metals in the coming year?
Here are five trends to watch.
Trend One: The Rise of Solar, Wind and other Alternative Sources of Energy
Even though modern solar panels contain smaller amounts of silver than panels did 10 years ago, the demand for solar panels is surging across North America. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, one-third of all the new electricity-generating facilities that are being built are solar. Also, enough electricity to power 3.5 million homes is already being produced by solar energy. To meet the demand, more American companies are tooling up to start production of solar panels
This trend will keep the demand high for silver, and will also impact gold and other metals, because of microcircuitry that is needed in conjunction with solar installations.
Trend Two: The Growth of Modern Plating Technologies
Although a lot of industrial plating is still performed in immersion tanks, we are entering a new age of high-tech thin-film plating in which sputtering targets are very much in demand. Depending on the metal that is being plated onto other surfaces, they could contain gold, silver, platinum, or other metals.
As the demand for sputtering targets grows, so will the need for recycled metals of many kinds. And another thing – if you have sputtering used targets that have outlived their working lives in production equipment, they are in demand too. Consider recycling them now for instant cash.
Trend Three: A Surge in the Manufacturing of Small Electronics
As you have noticed, consumers are in love with small electronic devices that include smartphones, watches that link to smartphones, game consoles, bracelets that monitor fitness activities, and more.
The microcircuits that they use contain quantities of gold. Even though each portable device contains only a small quantity of gold, the surge in their overall production numbers has created an increasing need for recycled gold. If you have a quantity of old electronic devices, consider recycling them now.
Trend Four: An Increasing Need for Batteries that Store Electricity
Have you noticed that more hybrid, plug-in hybrids and purely electric cars are appearing in large numbers on North American roads? So have we. In addition, the growing use of smartphones and other portable small devices is creating a dramatic increase in the need for batteries.
Although modern batteries typically contain lithium and other rare metals – not necessarily precious metals – the increase in the need for the electrical storage they provide will increase the demand for recycled metals in 2015 and beyond.
Trend Five: An Increase in the Production of Drones and Advanced Weapons
According to some estimates, countries around the world spend $1.5 trillion each year on armaments. Here in the U.S., more and more advanced weapons are being produced than in the past. They include drones, advanced systems for spying and monitoring military activity in other countries, and other systems that need precious metals for microcircuits, thermocouples and other components.
Again, the result will be a steady demand for gold and other metals that are needed in electronic devices.
Trend Six: The Growth of Aerospace
According to The Space Foundation, worldwide spending on outer-space technologies grew from $302 billion in 2012 to more than $314.17 billion 2013. Yet the U.S. government actually spent 1.7% less on space technologies in 2013 than it did in the previous year.
Those figures document the fact that private companies, not NASA, are becoming the motive force behind the commercialization of space. In the years to come, this trend will only increase the demand for gold, platinum, silver and other precious metals.
Do You Have Precious Metals to Recycle?
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