IMOA, the International Molybdenum Association which representing the interests of molybdenum producers, converters, traders and end users, has launched three case studies which examine how the unique properties of molybdenum are making a contribution to sustainable development in the construction and power generation industries.

The first two studies examine the role of molybdenum in sustainable buildings. The Federal Building in San Francisco, USA, incorporates a computer-controlled sunscreen made from molybdenum-containing Type 316 stainless steel. Combined with natural ventilation, this greatly reduces the need for air conditioning, cutting the building’s energy consumption by two-thirds. The molybdenum in the stainless steel significantly increases its resistance to corrosion from the urban coastal environment and helps to guarantee a design life of 100 years.

The second study showcases the use of high-strength steel (HSS) in the roof of the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. HSS enables stronger and lighter structures than conventional steel, meaning that less steel was needed, saving resources, cost and energy in production and transportation. Molybdenum is a significant raw material in the highest grades of HSS and contributed to a 17% reduction in the quantity of steel used, a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the lifecycle of the stadium and a 14.5% saving in the roof cost due to the reduced tonnage and costs of fabrication.

Global use of molybdenum in Q1 2013 was 122.6 million pounds, (55.6kt) down 2% from 125.5Mlb (56.9kt) in the previous quarter, but fractionally up from the same quarter in 2012, according to the IMOA.

Global production also slowed to 123.2Mlb (55.88kt) for Q1 2013, down 7% from 132.9Mlb (60.28kt) in the previous quarter and down 5% compared with the same period in 2012.

China remained the biggest user accounting for 31.4% of global consumption or 38.6Mlb (17.5kt) in Q1 2013, a decrease of 18% from 47.2Mlb (21.4kt) in the previous quarter, but an increase of 17% compared to the same quarter in 2012. Europe was the second largest consumer up 13% at 35.5Mlb (16.1kt) followed by USA up 5% at 13Mlb (5.89kt).

For production, North America overtook China in output reaching 46.3Mlb (21kt) in Q1 2013, a slight drop in output from the previous quarter. China’s production saw a sharp drop of 21% compared with the previous quarter, from 50.9Mlb (23.08kt)to 40.4Mlb (18.32kt).