Chemical Engineering

This section provides resources to help you research specific chemical industries. For more guidance on finding industry information, see our Industry Information research guide.

Canadian Chemical Industry

The resources below provide high-level overviews of chemical industries in Canada. For information on specific chemical industries, see the Chemical Industry Profiles section.

Chemical Industry Profiles

Use the databases in this section to find industry reports. Many resources also include statistics.

For detailed instructions on finding industry information in databases consult the Financial Research and Learning Lab’s How-to | Database Tables page.

Chemical Industry Statistics

The resources below primarily offer access to industry statistics. Note that the many of the resources listed in the Chemical Industry Profiles section (above) also contain statistics.

Bulk Chemical Prices

Finding bulk chemical pricing has always been a challenge for student design projects, and whatever number you come up with will be an estimate. There is not one "go to" source for bulk chemical pricing and the highest quality sources of data are so expensive that only industry can afford access. You will likely need to rely on multiple sources of information and historical pricing data. It is possible that you will not be able to find bulk pricing for your desired chemicals. Here are some tips to help your in your search:

  • Some prices are volatile and change daily; others may be quite stable over long periods of time. For estimation purposes you should consider trends over a period of time.
  • Prices for a raw material differ according to manufacturer, location, quantity, grade, delivery mode, time of year, and other variables. Long term contract prices are usually lower than spot prices.
  • All published prices are estimates. 
  • In many cases a direct quote from a supplier will be the only source of price information.
  • Don't use research-quantity (g/kg) prices for plant estimation purposes.
  • Manufacturers generally won't provide price quotes to students or non-customers.

Credit: The text above was adapted from the following research guides: Bulk Chemical Prices - University of Texas Libraries and Chemical Prices Guide - Texas A&M.

Current Market Prices

Many raw chemicals are commodities, which means that they are bought and sold on public markets. Through uOttawa's Financial Research and Learning Lab, you can access market prices for certain chemicals via Bloomberg Terminals (in-person only).


Historical Pricing Sources

ICIS Chemical Business and Chemical Week are trade magazines that have historically published some pricing information. To see if your chemical of interest is listed in either of these publications, refer to this chemical pricing spreadsheet (maintained by Texas A&M University Libraries up until 2023). This spreadsheet does not actually include pricing, but tells you which issue (e.g. Chemical Week, November 2011) to reference. Use the appropriate links below to find the full-text article.

Updating historical pricing

Current bulk chemical prices can be estimated by adjusting older chemical prices to current levels using a Producer Price Index (PPI). The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis lists a number of Producer Price Indices for Chemicals and Allied Products. Calculate the updated price using the formula below:

Updated Price = Older Price x [(Cost Index at Newer Date) / (Cost Index at Older Date)]

For more information, the conference paper below describes using the Producer Price Index to adjust older chemical prices:

Hubbard, D. E. (2021, March), Efficacy of Using Producer Price Indexes for Bulk Chemical Prices in Student Design Projects Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas.

CEPCI - Chemical Engineering Plant Cost Index

Construction costs change over time. Using a cost index helps to compare construction costs between time periods. One common index used in chemical plant design is CEPCI, the chemical engineering plant cost index. The trade journal Chemical Engineering (access via ProQuest OneBusiness) publishes CEPCI in their monthly economic indicators feature. Run the following search query in ProQuest and locate the most recent issue to find the current CEPCI:

PUBID(41910) AND "economic indicators"

For an overview of how cost indices are used in cost estimating, see the following article:

S. Jenkins, "FACTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS," Chemical Engineering, vol. 121, (6), pp. 28, 2014. Available: