Crude oil for August delivery fell 11 percent, to $128.88 a barrel last week on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest one-week drop in four years. Futures had reached $147.27 a barrel on July 11, the highest since 1983. And the price of oil is going to keep dropping, says a prominent energy analyst. Edward L. Morse of Lehman predicts a plunge to $93 a barrel. Declining demand will contribute to a build-up in inventories. One of the biggest drops will come in China, which had been feeding the fire. Plus there is some new capacity coming on line. The swing in oil prices upward was more exaggerated than normal because of rising speculation on oil and other commodities by investors who no longer could find good bets in real estate, or in the stock market. Some $90 billion of new cash reportedly moved into commodity funds in the past 18 months. A drop in short-term oil price speculation will help move tags down.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
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