According to the latest quarterly analysis of the natural gas market released by the International Energy Agency, global natural gas consumption will decline slightly this year and increase slowly in the following years because of soaring prices and the possibility of further reductions in Russian natural gas supplies. Global natural gas use this year is expected to be 0.5% lower than the 2021 level, and global natural gas demand is expected to increase by only 140 billion cubic meters over 2021 by 2025, the report said. The annual growth in 2021 will reach 175 billion cubic meters.
At the same time, the IEA's forecast for natural gas demand growth by 2024 was 60 per cent lower than its previous forecast, mainly due to "a weak economy and a smaller energy shift from coal or oil to natural gas", the report said.
It is worth noting that the South Korean Ministry of Industry, Trade and Resources announced on the same day that it plans to increase the proportion of nuclear power in South Korea's national energy structure to more than 30% by 2030. The proportion is 27.4% in 2021. The department also announced the resumption of the construction of two nuclear reactors. According to reports, after taking office, South Korean President Yoon Sik-Yue rejected the previous government's plan to phase out nuclear power and promised to increase investment in the nuclear power industry, so as to regain South Korea's status as a major exporter of safe nuclear reactors.
In addition, the supply and prices of many international bulk graphite powder are still very uncertain.
Graphite can be divided into two categories: natural graphite and artificial graphite.
Natural graphite comes from graphite mineral deposits. It can be divided into flake graphite, earthy graphite, and massive graphite.
Also known as dense crystalline graphite. The crystal of this kind of graphite is obvious and visible to the naked eye. The diameter of the particles is more than 0.1mm, the specific surface area ranges from 0.1-1m/g, and the crystals are arranged disorderly, showing a dense block structure. This kind of graphite is characterized by high grade, with a carbon content of 60%-65%, sometimes up to 80%-98%, but its plasticity and slippery property are not as good as flake graphite.
Massive graphite is the rarest and most valuable graphite ore, mainly found in Sri Lanka.
Flake graphite is formed by the combination of many single-layer graphite, which exists as a single flake in metamorphic rocks, with few reserves, high value and flake-like crystals, which are metamorphic under high pressure and can be divided into large scales and fine scales. This kind of graphite ore is characterized by low grade, generally between 2%-3% or 10%-25%. It is one of the most floatable ores in nature. High grade graphite concentrate can be obtained by grinding and dressing. The floatability, lubricity and plasticity of this kind of graphite are superior to other types of graphite, so it has the greatest industrial value.
Flake graphite is mainly distributed in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany and Madagascar.
Also known as cryptocrystalline graphite, microcrystalline graphite. The crystal diameter of this kind of graphite is generally less than 1 micron, and the specific surface area is concentrated in 1-5m/g. It is an aggregate of microcrystalline graphite, and the crystal form can only be seen under electron microscope. This kind of graphite is characterized by its earthy surface, lack of luster, and its lubricity is slightly worse than that of flake graphite. The purity is high. In general, 60%-85%, a few as high as more than 90%. It is generally used in the foundry industry. With the improvement of graphite purification technology, earthy graphite is used more and more widely.
Earthy graphite is the one with the largest reserves, with small scales and low crystallinity, which is used to produce low-value products and is the cheapest of the three kinds of graphite; earthy graphite is mainly found in Turkey, China, Europe, Mexico and the United States.
The graphite obtained by natural mining contains a lot of impurities, so it needs mineral processing to reduce its impurity content before it can be used. The main use of natural graphite is to produce refractories, brushes, flexible graphite products, lubricants, lithium-ion battery anode materials, etc., and some carbon products are sometimes added with a certain amount of natural graphite.
Artificial graphite includes single crystal graphite, polycrystalline graphite, pyrolytic graphite, highly oriented pyrolytic graphite, graphite synthesized by polyimide, graphite fiber and so on. Most artificial graphite products belong to the category of polycrystalline graphite.
Artificial graphite products are generally made of easily graphitized petroleum coke and asphalt coke through a series of processes such as batching, kneading, molding, roasting, graphitization (high temperature heat treatment) and mechanical processing, with a production cycle of tens of days.
Artificial graphite can be used in electric arc steelmaking furnace and mine thermal electric furnace. Graphite electrode is a kind of conductive material with high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance. Artificial graphite is also widely used in many other industrial sectors, such as electric brushes for motors, precision casting moulds, EDM moulds and wear-resistant components in the mechanical industry, conductors or corrosion-resistant materials used in electrolytic cells in the chemical industry, high-purity and high-strength artificial graphite is a reactor structural material in the nuclear industry and components used as missiles and rockets.
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For Germany, the largest economy in Europe, the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the natural gas market is the most obvious. This also exposed the serious dependence of some German industrial enterprises on Russian natural gas. Some analysts pointed out that the instability of natural gas supply has had a big impact on the German economy and threatened its market competitiveness because alternative energy supplies will not be cheap and difficult to come quickly. Increased uncertainty over natural gas supplies is putting enormous pressure on German manufacturers in sectors ranging from steelmaking to chemical graphite powder for the time being, but the market demand for graphite powder in the future will also change with the influence of various external factors. If you need graphite powder, please feel free to contact us.
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