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1.00 0.90 0.80 0.70 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.30 0.20 0.10 0.00

Figure 7. United States Carbon Polyethylene Resin Prices, October 2003 to September 2009

These most recent resin price swings did not affect the prices reported here for the composite tank. The prices shown in Figure 5 were in effect in the first half of 2008, which were somewhat lower than the prices shown in Figure 7 ( due to long-term purchasing contracts by Lincoln Composites. Lincoln’s resin costs did increase by mid-2008, but the crude-oil price slide in the latter half of 2008 brought the resin prices back to the same levels as in Lincoln’s cost estimates. However, with oil-based polymers (resin and liner) comprising approximately 60 percent of the material cost of the composite tank, it is likely that the long term costs are likely to track future oil prices. While the composite tank does have desirable features above steel tanks, the possibility of long-term price instabilities may offset these features.

Detailed Design Conclusions

A composite underground tank can be designed for use for propane applications. However, the current design exceeds the Phase I preliminary design weight and price values. This Phase II design has a lower weight than the Phase I steel tank estimates. This reduced weight advantage increases as the tank size increases, as shown in Table 9.

As stated above, the composite underground propane tank prices are higher than the Phase I steel and composites tank estimates. It is believed that the price could be reduced through a combination of increased production rate, specialized tooling, and additional development effort.

Alternative Underground Propane Tank Materials, Phase II—Final Report


September 2009 Battelle and Lincoln Composites

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