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Liters

Initial

Potential

950 1900

$ 3676 $ 4406

$ 1700 $ 2400

3800

$ 5863

$ 3600

As discussed in the introduction, one of the main drivers for this composite tank design project was the rapidly increasing cost of steel tanks, primarily due to steel price increases. Also noted in the introduction, steel prices did recede in the latter half of 2008. The U.S. price of carbon steel plate is shown in Figure 6 (MEPS, 2009). These price swings will likely continue as international markets have emerged as major consumers of commodity goods, equaling and sometimes exceeding the consumption by the United States. The extreme swings over the past year are unlikely in the near term because of the world-wide economic recession. Likewise, the price of polymeric materials have spiked in the past year, primarily driven by the price of crude oil, as shown in Figure 7 (The Plastics Exchange, 2009). Again, the emergence of countries other than the U.S. has helped magnify typical supply and demand-driven price swings.

Table 9. Comparison of Initial Estimated and Potential Costs After Reductions (U.S. Dollars)

Tank Size Gallons

250 500

1000

Estimated Composite Tank Cost

Steel Tank Cost

$ 1230 $ 1716 $ 2810

1200

1000

$/metric ton

800

600

400

200

Figure 6. United States Carbon Steel Prices, January 1997 to September 2009

Alternative Underground Propane Tank Materials, Phase II—Final Report

17

September 2009 Battelle and Lincoln Composites

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