Silver is the best electrical conductor, and it is an important element for many industries – including the industries of tomorrow.
It is not only used for making jewelry and coins, today its use is more variable. It is used as an important element for various green technologies, from electric cars to 5G towers, and from solar panels to many of today’s electronic devices and even in medicine. Silver has become the precious metal of the future!
All these developments will help our economies transition away from fossil-fuel dependency. We can already see the efforts of many countries around the world in incentivizing the production and buying of green technologies and setting targets to fight climate change.
Back in 2019, 141 billion US dollars were invested globally just in solar energy technologies. The main investors are Europe, China and the US.
But we don’t use silver to only produce solar energy technologies. It is estimated that annually we spend around 61 million ounces of silver just in the automotive industry (data from 2021).
Silver is as essential for our future technologies as much as gold, perhaps even more. Let’s dive deep into the use of silver in today’s world.
Silver is used as a currency
If your silver coin has a face value, you can legally pay with it. Though using your silver coin as a means of payment is not the wisest use. You can also trade with silver on the stock market, and since the demand for silver is most likely to grow, probably its value will grow as well.
Silver is also more accessible for investors of diverse economic backgrounds.
Silver is used for making jewelry
Silver is used for making jewelry for millennia. Nowadays we use silver in almost every piece of jewelry. This precious metal is often combined with copper to create a material called sterling silver. This combination makes more durable alloys for forks or dishes and other practical applications.
Silver is used in electric devices
Similar to gold the importance of silver in everyday electronics can’t be pointed out enough. Its non-corrosive, moldable, and thermal conductive attributes make it the perfect material for building electronics. The electronics and electrical sectors heavily rely on silver, in 2020 these sectors used 304.3 Moz. Silver is used from electrical switches to photovoltaic cells.
Silver is used in photography
Prior to the rise in popularity of digital camera technology, silver was essential for photography development because of its sensitivity to light.
Silver makes chemical reactions possible
Silver is a catalyst to create chemical reactions resulting in plastics like polyester and moldable materials like formaldehyde.
Silver has “antibacterial properties”
Silver’s antibacterial properties are known for centuries, but now scientists have discovered why it was used and how it really works.
Silver atoms can penetrate bacterial walls, disrupting their growth and reproduction, and these atoms don’t harm humans or animals because these cells are ticker. Another of its benefits is that bacteria can’t build an immunity to silver as they can to some antibiotics.
Boosting EVs, battery-powered devices
All forms of non-fossil energy production need to be stored somewhere. If EV demand rises accordingly to governmental spending on EV infrastructure, we can expect an increase in demand for silver. In 2018, the International Energy Agency predicts that there will be 125 million EVs on the road by 2030, and probably even more.
Silver’s superior electrical properties make it hard to replace with another element, many uses of silver in EVs are critical for meeting safety and environmental hazards.
Solar infrastructure and silver demand
In 2020 global silver PV demand was thought to exceed 3000 tons.
The US, China, Europe, India, the Middle East, and South America have renewable targets. And many of them are investing in solar infrastructure.
The rising growth of electricity demand, renewable energy aspirations, and falling costs of PV technology production point to rising solar power penetration, with a projection of silver demand growing 85% to 185 million in 10 years.
As technology advances, so do our needs for silver and other mining minerals and metals. We expect a significant increase in silver demand. Silver plays an important role in our societies and the upcoming "green revolution".