Just 75 tons of Rhenium were produced in 2018 – worldwide, of course. The applications of the technology metal range from catalysts to high-tech components. Another important place of use is aircraft engines: as an alloying component, Rhenium makes engines more heat-resistant – this allows them to burn kerosene at higher temperatures. This is more effective and therefore more environmentally friendly than previous engines. About eleven pounds of Rhenium are needed for a latest generation Pratt & Whitney engine.
A market study by Boeing in mid-2019 estimated that about 44,000 commercial aircraft will be produced by 2038. In the case of two engines per aircraft, the demand would therefore be around 20 tonnes of Rhenium per year in the aviation industry alone. Production of rhenium cannot be expected to increase to the same extent, as it is linked to copper and molybdenum production. Although Rhenium is also produced by recycling, in order to be able to produce larger volumes economically, the market price would still have to rise significantly.
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