Titanium dioxide prices climb nearly 50% this year; a potential alternative appearsTitanium dioxide prices climb nearly 50% this year; a potential alternative appears
If you manufacture anything, it is hard not to use titanium dioxide. According to some sources, it accounts for 70% of the total production volume of pigments worldwide. It is used in paints, coatings, toothpaste, concrete, foods, sunscreen-the list goes on and on. It also, of course, is used in plastics, and that is becoming a problem as the prices of the pigment shoot skyward-up about 45% this year alone.
October 20, 2011
Recent prices hikes for TiO2 include the market leader, Dupont, announcing a $300/ton price increase. Huntsman hiked its prices for the pigment by $200/ton and Kronos by $250/ton.
According to the pricing information service ICIS, DuPont's $0.15/lb price increase for North America TiO2 grades, effective Nov. 1, likely will be implemented in Feb. 2012 since most contracts enjoy 90 days of price protection. According to ICIS, roughly $0.15/lb (+9%) of the last increase (effective July 1, but implemented on Oct.1) likely went through, bringing the North America price to $1.87/lb for 4Q11, up 45% since the start of 2011.
ICIS predicts little respite for buyers of the pigment "given supply constraints that won't be resolved for several years."
One result may be a drop in the number of companies choosing to incorporate "Apple white" into their products. One company hoping to profit from the TiO2 price increases is PQ Corp. of Malvern, PA. The company, a supplier of inorganic specialty chemicals and engineered glass materials, this month announced the launch of ADVERA Ti, a pigment it says can be used for partial replacement of titanium dioxide in coatings, plastics, paper coatings, and other markets.
PQ Corp. markets the material as "a cost-effective replacement for TiO2 at comparable performance." Flavio Ribeiro, commercial development director for PQ Corp., commented, "This new product is a highly viable alternative to titanium dioxide and meets the performance requirements of the market."
ADVERA Ti has a small particle size, is said to be easily dispersed in a matrix material, and has a crystal morphology which facilitates optimum TiO2 spacing. The product also exhibits strong whiteness and brightness (hiding power). ADVERA Ti is manufactured at PQ Corp.'s Jeffersonville, IN. plant.
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