Unit price scaling trends for chemical products

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To facilitate early-stage life-cycle techno-economic modeling of emerging technologies, here we identify scaling relations between unit price and sales quantity for a variety of chemical products of three categories - metal salts, organic compounds, and solvents. We collect price quotations for lab-scale and bulk purchases of chemicals from both U.S. and Chinese suppliers. We apply a log-log linear regression model to estimate the price discount effect. Using the median discount factor of each category, one can infer bulk prices of products for which only lab-scale prices are available. We conduct out-of-sample tests showing that most of the price proxies deviate from their actual reference prices by a factor less than ten. We also apply the bootstrap method to determine if a sample median discount factor should be accepted for price approximation. We find that appropriate discount factors for metal salts and for solvents are both -0.56, while that for organic compounds is -0.67 and is less representative due to greater extent of product heterogeneity within this category.

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