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Scandium

Scandium has important uses in environmentally preferred Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, as well as in ultra-high-performance aluminum alloys.  Scandium greatly strengthens aluminum alloys and allows them to be reliably welded, which presents revolutionary potential for the commercial airline industry.  For example, between $1.0-$1.5 million of scandium oxide in a single airliner offers $10-15 million in net present value fuel savings.

 

About Scandium

Name

Scandium

Atomic Number

21

Element Classification 

Metal

Phase at Room Temp.

Solid

Melting Point

1814 K (1541°C or 2806°F)

Boiling Point

3109 K (2836°C or 5137°F)

Density

2.99 grams per cubic centimeter


To learn more about the element Scandium, please see the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Scandium page here.

Major Uses of Scandium

Major uses of Scandium today are in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, high-performance aluminum alloys, high-energy lasers, stadium lighting, and other uses.

Consumption Constrained by Supply

Current global consumption of Scandium is only 10-15 tonnes per year, and is constrained by limited, unreliable and inefficient supply sources.

Strong Demand Growth Forecast

With a reliable supply of Scandium, demand for this high-performance metal is forecast to grow strongly. Estimated demand in the aerospace sector alone is about 300 tonnes per year.

Disruptive Potential of Scandium

Scandium is poised to deliver truly revolutionary benefits to the commercial aviation and other industries.  For example:

  • An analysis by OnG Commodities LLC shows that Scandium-contained aluminum alloys can save airline operators approximately $9 million in net present value for a single B737-sized jetliner, assuming Scandium oxide pricing at $3,500/kg.  This represents an 11:1 cost-savings ratio for the airlines.  
  • This analysis assumes a B737 flying 3,250 hours per year, using American Airlines’ cost of capital, U.S. Energy Information Agency  projections for future fuel price inflation, a per-kilogram price for scandium oxide of $3,500/kg, and an average 0.7% by weight scandium doping level.

Addition, for commercial aircraft manufacturers, AlSc alloys allow aluminum components to be welded instead of joined via hundreds of thousands of rivets per plane. For manufacturers, this could amount to:

  • Tens of millions of dollars/year in lower materials costs and direct manufacturing costs.
  • Higher manufacturing throughput: a 1% increase in annual production of a narrow body jet is worth ~$500 million in added revenue to an OEM.

Scandium alloys also present potentially revolutionary weight and cost savings to other transportation systems, such as cars, trucks, buses, trains and other platforms.

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