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Auto Industry Use of Zinc is Forecast to Grow

While many commodities are struggling with supply chain problems, the zinc industry, which provides the ingredient needed to galvanize steel auto bodies, has been able to minimize its disruptions. Design News spoke with Andrew Green, the Executive Director of the International Zinc Association, to hear about that industry’s contributions to the auto industry and its potential for more to come.

What are the main uses of zinc in the auto industry?
Andrew Green: The auto industry is certainly one of the key areas for big markets. It represents about 14 percent of the overall use of zinc going into an application and that’s mainly from galvanizing steel for protection from corrosion, also die-cast parts and zinc oxide in the tires, and so forth.

Which auto parts are the biggest zinc users?
Andrew Green: The main part would be with the coiled steel, the continuous steel that’s produced by the steel companies for use in the auto body itself. If you look at the US, Canada, Europe, and places like that, only about 90-to-95 percent of those auto bodies use galvanized steel sections and corrosion. The other sector that’s growing fast as you well know, is the EV market.

So how is it used in EVs? Is it used in their batteries?
Andrew Green: For batteries, lithium has the overwhelming share with EVs and of course lead is used as a secondary backup for that. There is a great market for zinc batteries with energy storage. But that’s a whole other sector. One of our companies does, however, have some great new technology that’s an opportunity for zinc batteries to be used with EVs. But I’d say ‘stay tuned’ for that.

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