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August 16th, 2007
Demand surge impacts specialty chemical prices in various ways
But not all specialty chemicals prices are on the rise—some are actually going down. The most consistent pattern of downward movement in specialties exists in newly emerging fields such as bioconversion of cellulose into ethanol, or in nanotechnology.
Similarly, notes Shamel, some of the chemicals used in developmental nanotechnology applications are still priced at a premium. He cites as a case in point advanced pigments for auto coatings that would allow drivers to switch the color of their vehicles from, say, red to black at the flick of a switch. These pigments are exceptionally pricey and likely to remain so for a long time to come, Shamel notes. But even some of the most innovative specialties eventually reach commodity pricing status, he adds. Nonetheless, he says that development can take "decades," allowing those in the specialties business to make "some pretty good returns" along the way.
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