The need for a more energy-conscious society in relation to the efficient production and consumption of energy has intensified in past years and will become increasingly important for that society in the future. Currently, worldwide energy use is growing much faster than supply can match. The efficiency of conventional technologies must be improved in order to reduce losses in transmission and distribution of energy, and new strategies and technologies must be developed for “doing more, using less”.
Whatever form such solutions may take in the future, it may be expected that tungsten-based materials and components will play their positive part in meeting these challenges. Tungsten products have contributed in the past in this way, both as functional materials and advanced tools with outstanding properties, and this contribution will not diminish in the near future.
Current discussions on global warming, and the conclusion that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed temperature increase since the middle of the twentieth century, have brought calls for reductions in emissions which will demand a more conscientious handling of fossil energy worldwide. The search for alternatives will be intensified, as coal, oil and natural gas reserves become depleted and the need to use existing natural and renewable resources steadily increases.
There is a great opportunity for tungsten-containing products which have strategic importance in the field of fossil energy production, fossil energy or renewable power generation, power transmission and power distribution, because of their outstanding properties. Some examples follow.