Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fluorine – Uses, Prices, and Production


This blog highlights information and data I have found on the Internet related to fluorine uses, prices, and production.

Uses.  Natural occurrence of fluorine is found only when it is bonded to other elements, primarily in the mineral fluorspar (also known as fluorite, consisting mostly of calcium fluoride).   It is from fluorspar that fluorine is chemically sourced as hydrofluoric acid (HF).  The HF is then used to react with other elements to form useful fluorine-containing compounds.  Because of the very high reactivity of fluorine, when fluorine is reacted with other elements, very stable compounds are formed.  Fluorine, once bonded stronger resists being un-bonded, thus providing high inertness and stability to the compounds it is in, which is a property account for use of several fluorine-containing compounds.  Some of the HF produced from fluorspar has uses as an acid, e.g., to etch glass and to process semiconducting materials.

Prices.  Two market prices relevant to fluorine use are the price of fluorspar and the price of HF.  Internet data suggest that global 2018 fluorspar prices ranged from $400 to $500 per metric ton (mt).   Several Chinese fluorspar mine closings in 2018, due to environmental concerns, boosted world fluorspar prices in 2018.   2018 global market prices for HF were in the $1,000 to $2,000 per mt range.  HF vendors have both the fluorspar raw material and the HF processing costs to cover in their HF sales price.

Production.  Internet data suggests that in 2018 approximately 6 million mt of fluorspar was mined.  Assuming the average 2018 fluorspar price was $450 per mt, this gives a fluorspar 2018 production value of approximately $2.7 billion (6 million mt times $450 per mt).

Internet data also suggests that the 2018 global market value of HF produced was approximately $4.3 billion.  Assuming an average HF price of $1,500 per mt, 2.9 million mt of HF was produced in 2018 ($4.3 billion divided by $1,500 per mt).

The above production data gives some insight into the value of fluorine as a starting material – the 2018 prices producers are willing to pay for the benefits of fluorine in subsequent uses.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Oxygen – Uses, Prices, and Production


This blog highlights information and data I have found on the Internet related to oxygen uses, prices, and production.  The information and data only pertains to the elemental and molecular forms of oxygen.

Uses.   Major uses of oxygen are based on oxygen’s property that promotes combustion.  Increasing the concentration of oxygen in those processes where combustion is required for completion enhances the processes, saving costs.   About one-half of global oxygen is used to enhance combustion processes in the steel industry.  Another oxygen property accounting for large use amounts is being an oxidizer.  Several industries use lots of oxygen for this purpose.  Oxygen is used as a raw material for producing oxygen-containing compounds.  Large amounts of oxygen are provided to patients requiring respiratory support.  Click here to go to a Universal Industrial Gasses company site with details on oxygen uses and other facts and information about oxygen.

Prices.  Internet data suggests 2018 prices, on average, for delivered oxygen, to be about $100 per metric ton (mt).

Production.   Four prominent methods for producing oxygen are: (from air) cryogenic distillation; adsorption; and membrane filtration; and (from water) electrolysis.  Internet sources indicate that the 2018 global market for delivered oxygen was approximately $22 billion.  Assuming that the average price for oxygen was about $100 per mt, this gives an approximate production amount of delivered oxygen of 220 million mt ($22 billion divided by $100/mt).  About one-half of global oxygen used is produced by on-site, company-owned oxygen generators and are not included in the above data.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Nitrogen – Uses, Prices, and Production


This blog highlights information and data I have found on the Internet related to nitrogen uses, prices, and production.  The information and data only pertains to the elemental and molecular forms of nitrogen.

Uses.   Elemental nitrogen is essential for life, being found in many biochemical molecules.  This need for nitrogen in living organisms accounts for the application of nitrogen-containing compounds in agriculture.   Also, many nitrogen-containing compounds have industrial uses other than in agriculture and molecular nitrogen serves as a raw material in producing these compounds.   This nitrogen molecule use is based on the molecule’s property of being inert and a gas at room temperature and its low temperature as a liquid.   As an inert gas, nitrogen has such uses as providing inert atmospheres, cleaning/flushing closed environments, retarding fire, and providing a barrier.  Liquid nitrogen is used as a coolant or a refrigerant.   Numerous industries find many ways of using nitrogen for such uses.

Prices.  Internet data indicates 2018 prices for delivered nitrogen in the range $100 to $500 per metric ton (mt), with $300 per mt perhaps a most likely price.   Liquid nitrogen costs more.

Production.   Since nitrogen is more than 70% of the composition of air, primary nitrogen production methods are based on extracting nitrogen from air, either by distillation (click here for details) or by adsorption (click here for details).  Internet sources indicate that the 2018 global market for delivered molecular nitrogen (presumably both gas and liquid forms) was approximately $16 billion.   Assuming that the average 2018 price for nitrogen was about $300 per mt, this gives an approximate production amount of delivered nitrogen at 53 million mt ($19 billion divided by $300 per mt).

As indicated in the last paragraph, the production data is for delivered nitrogen.  Nitrogen generator technology exists such that generators can be purchased for use by companies to generate nitrogen at company locations.  (Click here for more on this.).   So, the amount of nitrogen used globally is higher than the 53 million mt indicated above.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert – April 2019


The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and metal 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 April 2019.

Section I below lists those chemicals and metals that were on the previous month’s Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply. Click here to read the March 2019 Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and metals (not on the March 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 metals identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I.

None

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

Cholines: United Kingdom; production not keeping up with demand
Helium:  global; production not keeping up with demand
Photoinitiators:  global; production not keeping up with demand

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: cholines; helium; photoinitiators
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports:  none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand: none