Polystyrene is marvelously useful stuff. Lightweight packing materials have certainly saved billions of gallons of fuel since they were first introduced, so I'm not 100% against them. Of course, they are never re-used or recycled, so they end up being buried, and will never degrade, which kinda sucks.
But a new study from Iowa State University shows that polystyrene can simply be dissolved in bio-diesel "like a snowflake in water." Mixes of between 2% and 20% polystyrene by weight show that the optimal concentration of polystyrene is 5%. Anything above that, and the polystyrene doesn't increase power output as much and the fuel becomes more and more viscous.
Not surprisingly, polystyrene does increase non-CO2 emissions like soot and NOx gasses. Plus, gathering polystyrene and shipping it to biodiesel refineries would be a costly process as polystyrene is, by design, very bulky. And if we're collecting it, we might as well find other ways to re-use it, instead of burning it.
Via New Scientist
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