Silver, sometimes known as the poor cousin to gold, due to its lower price per ounce – flexes its muscles mightily for those who choose to invest in it. While silver is a precious, monetary metal that has served as currency for thousands of years, it is also widely used industrial metal powerhouse.
In fact, industrial demand for silver – for use in manufacturing and electronics, accounts for roughly half of all demand for this metal. Other large demand drivers for silver include jewelry, investment and smaller components include photography and silverware.
Increasing industrial demand is a factor behind larger silver demand for 2022. Total silver demand in 2021 hit a 6-year high at 1.05 billion ounces. Rising demand in every single category pushed silver usage higher last year. This year, the outlook for silver demand remains bright, with a 5% increase seen due to industrial fabrication, according to Metals Focus. Meanwhile, the global supply is forecast to rise by 3%.
If you aren’t familiar with some of the many uses for silver in medicine, technology, electronics and more you aren’t alone. They are wide-reaching and new developments are discovered seemingly constantly.
Here’s a quick look at new and growing usages for silver in industrial application, reported in The Silver Institute’s latest Silver News.
Nano silver ink printing delivers higher print resolution. Austin, Texas-based Electroninks developed a particle-free, aerosol jet printing product that is capable of being printed at less than 15-millionth of a meter resolution while most silver nanoparticles are between 1-thousandth and 100-thousandth of a meter in size. The U.S. intelligence community has taken notice of this aerosol ink through a partnership from In-Q-Tel, a group that “invests in cutting-edge technologies to enhance the national security of the United States.”
Has your doctor prescribed a wound-care ointment to you containing silver? Don’t be surprised if they do. “Interest in silver antimicrobial coatings is rising rapidly as healthcare specialists and others seek more efficient and effective ways to tackle the spread of disease, especially in the face of growing resistance brought on by overuse of antibiotic drugs,” wrote Trevor Keel, Technical Director at The Silver Institute. Looking ahead, the global antimicrobial coatings market size is projected to grow from $3.9 billion in 2021 to $6.4 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5%, and silver-based antimicrobial coatings are projected to witness the highest CAGR during this period, according to a Research and Markets report.
Scientists are experimenting with how silver can be used in a trio of metals to reduce greenhouse gases. In an effort to mitigate global climate change, scientists are focusing on ways to capture and use carbon dioxide, a contributing factor to greenhouse gases. “The goal is to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into feedstock to produce useful industrial chemicals,” The Silver Institute said. Scientists have found that ethanol production hit maximum levels when a specific ratio of metals involving one atom each of gold and silver combined with five copper atoms were used.
Today’s Silver Price Is Attractive
Silver demand is growing. For long-term investors, today’s silver prices remain attractive at around $22.50 an ounce. Analysts at Bank of America are upbeat on the prospects for silver this year. According to a recent BofA Global Research report, the firm forecasts silver to $30 an ounce. If you are interested in exploring silver investments that could be right for you, learn more here.
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