Archive for January 14th, 2013

Considering the financial expense and time required to pursue higher education, does earning a degree in a STEM field pay off in the long term? Here we look at the correlation between degree credentials and earnings potential. Read more

Credit: Techcollector

Plus: U.S. Trade Deficit Expands, China to Dominate World Auto Market, American Advanced Manufacturing Losing Market Share, and Jobless Claims Inch Up. Read more


Sugarcane. Credit: Cmales, CC BY-SA 3.0.

After spending several weeks examining the applications and markets for plant-based polymers and related materials, I think it’s safe to say that this broad category of materials has potential environmental benefits. In spite of that, though, bioplastics, biopolymers and other plant-based materials still have to compete on the key criteria of performance and price. (See my recent articles on bio-based materials in the markets for intermediates, coatings, disposables, automotive materials and packaging.)

Markets for plastics and polymers and adjacent segments are attractive targets for innovators in chemical products. Research firm IBISWorld estimates that plastic products were worth $779.8 billion in 2012 and will grow to $941.4 billion in 2017. Global Industry Analysts says the global coatings market should reach $107 billion by 2017. Pike Research predicts that the global packaging market will be worth $530 billion by 2014, with sustainable packaging representing $170 billion of that. And the Center for Automotive Research estimates that the U.S. automotive industry alone reached $370 billion in 2011, with “the majority of this value is in the automotive parts sector.” Read more

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