The University of Texas

Chemical Engineering Economics

U.T. restricted : These resources are available to UT-Austin students, faculty, and staff only.
All print materials print material listed are in the Chemistry Library unless otherwise noted.
Entries marked with a recommended resource (star) are particularly useful.

JUMP TO: Trade News: Chemical Prices, Cost Indexes | Web Resources | Indexes: Business | Indexes: Technical | Books

Background Sources

Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of chemical technology. 5th ed. recommended resource
print material Reference TP 9 K54 2004
Online U.T. restricted
Core information source presents a wealth of information on preparation, manufacturing processes, uses of materials, properties of chemical substances, and chemistry fundamentals. This should be your first stop when looking for process information for major chemical products. Chapters on important industrial products usually contain a section on economics, pricing, and production.

Ullmann's encyclopedia of industrial chemistry. 7th ed. recommended resource
print material Reference TP 9 U57 2011, 40 vols.
Comprehensive coverage of industrial chemistry topics. Complements Kirk-Othmer with more of a European focus.

Encyclopedia of chemical processing and design.
print material Reference TP 9 E66, 68 vols., 1976-99
Lengthy articles on chemical products and their processes, economics, equipment, and applications. The economic data are obsolete, but figures may be extrapolated to current estimates by using the various cost indexes.

Perry's chemical engineers handbook. 8th ed.
print material Handbook Table
E-Book U.T. restricted
Compendium of data tables and textual information on virtually every aspect of chemical engineering, including mathematics and physical/chemical data. Use the index as a starting point.

Economic Data and Industry News


The principal indexes used to estimate plant construction costs are:


There is no single, authoritative source of prices for bulk chemicals. The highest quality market analyses are compiled for industry subscribers and tend to be quite expensive, and are not available to an educational audience. Several trade publications (below) offer subscription-based pricing products to individuals and companies. Otherwise, students must gather pricing information piecemeal from various publications and web searches. Some points to remember:


The links in this section are to the home pages of these publications; direct access to most content requires a personal subscription. Some full text can be found via Business Source Complete, where noted in the descriptions.

Icis Chemical Business
ICIS chemical business.
print material Weekly, 2005-forward print issues in Chemistry Library Journal Stacks (Some issues are now digital-only, and not available to libraries.)
Some content (text only) is available online via Business Source Complete.

  • The Market Trends & Data column highlights current trends for selected chemicals and provides spot or contract bulk prices for a short list of major chemicals.
  • The Chemical Profile presents recent production and demand information for a particular product, including a price history. Profiles of about 50 chemicals are updated every 1-2 years and cover American, European, or Asian markets. We maintain a list of chemical profiles published since 2006.
  • ICIS offers a price report service for personal or corporate subscription. Some older sample reports are available free with registration. A static list of indicative prices from August 2006 is also freely available. [Reed Elsevier]

Chemical Engineering New York
print material Chemistry Library Journal Stacks [Catalog Record]
The best known industry magazine, published monthly. CE publishes the monthly CEPCI cost index and an annual Buyers' Guide directory each fall. [Access Intelligence]

Chemical Week
print material Chemistry Library Journal Stacks
Some full text available online via Business Source Complete.
The weekly "CW Price Report" appeared in print until mid-2010, when it was split off into a separate online service called PriceWatch available for personal subscription. CW also publishes the annual Buyers' Guide directory. [IHS]

Chemical and Engineering News
print material Chemistry Library Journal Stacks
Weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society. C&EN does not report pricing data, but it publishes occasional profiles of industry segments as well as annual statistical features such as "Facts and Figures for the Chemical Industry" (usually in July) and employment and salary outlooks.

C&EN on the web actually has two incarnations that should be searched separately:

  • To search C&EN Online from August 1998 forward, use the search box on the magazine's home page. Full text articles from this site are usually available to ACS members.
  • To search the C&EN Archives (1923-last year), use the ACS Publications Advanced Search form, specify C&EN in the publication list, and adjust the date ranges accordingly.

Hydrocarbon Processing
print material Chemistry Library Journal Stacks
News and research from the petroleum refining industry. [Gulf Publishing]

Oil and Gas Journal
print material TN 860 O4 Geology Library
Newsmagazine for the petroleum refining and exploration industries. Contains the Nelson-Farrar Cost Index for petroleum refinery construction. Follow the link from the Library Catalog to see options for full-text access. [PennWell]

print material TA 1 E6 Engineering Collection (PCL)
Newsmagazine for the engineering and construction industries. Contains a construction cost index. [Dodge]

Web Resources

Based in Germany.
International meta-catalog site.

Chinese chemical product database with global supplier information.

Chemical Data Access Tool (CDAT)
"Find a range of chemical-specific information submitted to EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act." Caveat: TSCA data are self-reported, dated, and spotty, and companies frequently use a confidentiality exemption. Some production data are included.

Chemical Economics Handbook
Produced by IHS (formerly by SRI), the CEH is a source of commercial chemical market analysis for industry players. Its periodic reports on major commodity chemicals are well researched and very expensive, but abstracts are publicly available. Reports are not available through interlibrary loan.

Chemical Engineering Buyers' Guide
Search for products or companies, or browse by category.
An international "yellow pages" site listing thousands of chemical products and producers.

Chemical Week Buyers' Guide
Browse by type of service/product, and search by supplier, product, tradenames, etc.

IHS Chemical
IHS has acquired most of the major chemical market intelligence companies in recent years, including Chemical Market Associates (CMAI), SRI Consulting, and the magazine Chemical Week.

London Metal Exchange
Current price and trading information for non-ferrous metals and plastics. Registration required to view some data.

A trading site of chemicals from various suppliers, mostly in China.

ThomasNet (formerly the Thomas Register) profiles North American companies that manufacture various products and commodities. Search by product name or browse in the chemical categories. Includes a White Paper library of market analyses and case studies.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: PPI
The BLS provides interactive tables of Producer Price Index data for commodities including chemicals.

U.S. Census Current Industrial Reports
Government data on production and shipment of important manufactures, including chemical.

U.S. Geological Survey Minerals Information
"Statistics and information on the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment." Includes annual reports on commodity minerals.

U.S. Petroleum Prices
Current and historical prices for crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, diesel fuel, and propane, along with analysis and updates. [US EIA/DOE]

Indexes: Business and Trade Journals, News Sources

Business Source Complete recommended resource U.T. restricted
Indexing and full text to thousands of business and trade journals. The best way to search for price information on a particular chemical is to use an accepted trade/generic name or abbreviation for the chemical with the keyword pric*, and apply a recent date limit:
butadiene and pric*

Factiva U.T. restricted
Updated daily. A global information resource, providing full-text access to top national and international newspapers (including full text of the Wall Street Journal), newswires, business journals, market research reports, analysts reports and web sites. Contains over 8000 publications, with some coverage of chemical trade publications.

Lexis-Nexis Academic U.T. restricted
Extensive business and financial news and data source.

Indexes: Technical Literature

SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts) U.T. restricted
Comprehensive indexing of the worldwide literature in all areas of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related disciplines. (CAS does not cover business/trade publications.)

Engineering Index U.T. restricted
Coverage of the worldwide journal and conference literature in all fields of engineering.


There are many books available on chemical process design and economics. Search the Library Catalog by keywords or by the subject heading Chemical plants -- Design and construction. Or you may just browse the shelves in the Chemistry Library at TP 155.5, where most books on this topic are located.

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