While it may require an initial higher investment when compared with other materials, stainless steel’s unique properties deliver long-term performance and economic benefits including minimum downtime, reduced maintenance costs and reduced environmental impacts.
The short answer is: yes, nickel can be a sustainable material throughout the entire value chain, from mining, manufacturing, to use and end of life – if all actors throughout the value chain step up and take their responsibility. Now let's look at the longer answer...
Food safety starts with rigorous hygiene, and nickel-containing stainless steels are the superior, reliable standard at every link of the food chain.
Ever-tightening sulphur oxide (SOx) emission regulations are increasing the use of marine scrubbers globally. Scrubbers operate in a highly corrosive environment and require the resilience of nickel-containing alloys to prevent failure.
European nickel producers need a consistent regulatory framework. There must be coherence between different EU policy objectives with rules based on principles of sound science, risk-based approaches, full life-cycle thinking and impact assessments.
Most nickel production is destined for stainless steel. But a significant 8% is used in the production of alloy steels which are needed to deliver specific characteristics for specialised and often critical applications.
Should we be worried about there being enough nickel to supply the transition to electric vehicles and cleaner energy sources? Given its wide range of uses in important existing and emerging technologies, this is a frequently asked question.