Nickel alloy has always been an important material for various industries, including some high-revenue sectors such as automotive, aerospace & defense, owing to its high solubility with iron, chromium, and other vital metals. The high versatility of the material, along with its exceptional heat and corrosion resistance properties enables its application in aircraft gas turbines, steam turbines in power plants, and other high-performance applications.
In onshore wind power plants, nickel-based alloys are primarily used in the gearing and generator components. On the other hand, in hydroelectric installations, nickel alloys are used in turbines owing to their exceptional erosion and corrosion resistance features.
A growing world government emphasis on scaling up power plant infrastructures, coupled with the soaring number of onshore power projects sanctioned to cater to the rapidly rising electricity demand, would foster the demand for nickel alloy to a large extent.
According to Global Market Insights, Inc., report, the global nickel alloy market size is expected to witness remunerative growth by 2027.
Nickel-based alloys and metals have wide-ranging applications in the automotive sector. Apart from its utilization in many automotive parts, nickel is extensively used in the batteries of electric vehicles. Nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion battery is witnessing significant adoption in EVs due to its extended power backup.
The rise in electric vehicle production globally is likely to drive the demand for nickel alloy in the coming years. As per the International Environment Agency, approximately 2.1 million electric vehicles were sold in 2019. Moreover, nickel and chromium plating are also used on numerous automotive components to enhance vehicles aesthetics.
The heat-resistant nickel alloy segment is forecast to hold considerable market share by the end of 2027, particularly owing to increasing demand in high-temperature applications. These applications include oil & gas production, and power plants, among others. There have been rising government initiatives to develop a large number of onshore and offshore power plants and oil & gas refineries mostly in developed nations.
From a regional frame of reference, the European nickel alloy industry share is anticipated to expand exponentially owing to the rising number of passenger jet fleets. As per the CAPA Fleet Database, the passenger jet fleet in Europe rose by 1.8% month-on-month in February 2021, to 3,400. The applications of nickel in aircraft engine turbines bring toughness, high-temperature strength, and durability.
Meanwhile, stringent environmental norms encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles and the establishment of renewable-energy power plants would positively influence nickel alloy business in Europe.
Leading companies involved in global nickel alloy business include Ametek Inc., Sandvik AB, Rolled Alloys, Inc., Aperam S.A., Voestalpine AG, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, Haynes International, Precision Castparts Corporation (Berkshire Hathaway), and ThyssenKrupp AG, among others. These industry players are focusing on strategic alliances and novel product development to strengthen their position in the global market.
Nickel alloy plays a vital role in the transportation sector, right from its utilization in EVs, aircraft, and traditional automotive. Nickel-based stainless steel is used in passenger trains and subways to offer strongness and durability to the outer body. Superior mechanical properties, along with the ability to dilute with other materials expected to foster applications of nickel and nickel-based materials in the forthcoming years.
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