Thursday, July 23, 2015

Some Comments on the US Market for Waste-to-Energy Plants

Internet data suggests that in the United States (US), a range of 7 to 12% of municipal solid waste (MSW) currently is used in waste-to-energy (WTE) incineration. And, in the European Union (EU), the WTE range is 18 to 23%.  The total MSW amount (not just that incinerated but also recycled/composted and land-filled) appears to be about 265 million metric tons (mt) in the US and about 250 million mt in the EU.  These totals are based on assuming that each person in the US generates about 5 pounds of MSW per day and in the EU about 3 pounds and the US population is 319 million and the EU population is 503 million.

Assurances on exactly what the WTE percentages are seem to me to be very difficult to pin down.   This is because percentages (found on the Internet) are based on assumptions, estimates, and surveys and searching the Internet exhaustively can find different percentages for WTE use.   But most of what is found falls in the ranges given above.  With respect to total MSW amounts for both the US and the EU, total populations used are probably fairly accurate.  Pounds of MSW per person are based on a range of estimates found on the Internet.

The US has long been recognized as significantly lagging the EU in the use of WTE.  However, with the recent opening of the Palm Beach County, Florida’s WTE plant (apparently the first US WTE plant to be opened in the last 20 years) and the preponderance of scientific research, data, and analysis supporting WTE as the best alternative compared to land-filling, the US may be about to increase its percentage of WTE use.

Assuming the mid-point (9.5% for the US; 20.5% for the EU) for the above-provided WTE ranges, the US uses about 25 million mt of MSW per year in WTE (0.095 X 265 million mt total MSW) and the EU uses about 51 million mt per year (0.205 X 250 million mt).  Should the US grow to the same level as the EU (20.5%) in its WTE use, the US would go from 25 million mt per year to 54 (0.205 X 265) million mt per year in WTE use.   The new West Palm Beach plant is reported to be able to process about 1 million tons (presumably US not metric tons), so should the US reach an approximate EU WTE percentage level, more than 30 West Palm Beach-size plants would be needed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Some Financial Statistics and Numbers for Coatings Companies

Annual reports for 14 coatings companies were examined to analyze recent sales growth; average gross profit margin percentage; average research & development expenditure to revenue ratio; and average operating income to revenue ratio for the companies.  The following table shows the coatings companies’ names and their 2014 and 2013 revenues (in US dollars):

company name
revenue 2014
revenue 2013
akzo nobel
sherwin williams
asian paints
chugoku marine paints
dai nippon torgo
berger paints

The average revenue growth rate from 2013 to 2014 for these companies is computed to be 3.4%, which happens to be the gross world product growth rate for 2014 (based on data at a Wikipedia site; click here to read this data).   These 14 companies probably have sales in a high percentage of the world’s countries so it may not be surprising that their average product growth rate reflects the gross world product growth rate.

These companies' financial performances represented by the average gross product margin percentage (36.7% - 2014; 35.7% - 2013) and the operating income as a percentage of revenue (9.3% - 2014; 9.0% - 2013) seem reasonably good.

The average percentage of research & development expenditure to revenues (1.7% for both 2014 and 2014) seems a little less than many industrial sector averages, which tend to be in the 2 to 3% range.  Perhaps because the coatings industry is a very mature industry, less opportunity for new innovation is pursued.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chemical and Material Shortage Alert – June 2015

The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and material shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is June 2015.

Section I below lists those chemicals and materials that were on the previous Chemical and Material Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply. Click here to read the May 2015 Chemical and Material Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and materials (not on the May alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.   Chemicals and materials identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.   Chemicals and materials that continue from May to be reported as in short supply are:  polymers (Europe); production not keeping up with demand

Section II.   Shortages Reported in June not found on the Previous Month’s List


Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand: none
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  none