NewScientist.com has an interesting story today about boosting the power output of biodiesel by adding polystyrene cups to the fuel. The story notes that Iowa State University mechanical engineers dissolved PS into biodiesel at concentrations ranging from 2 to 20 percent PS by weight. "A polystyrene cup will dissolve almost instantly in biodiesel, like a snowflake in water," said Song-Charng Kong, a co-author of the study. She noted that PS does not break down as well in petroleum-based diesel nor in other liquid fuels. Tests in a tractor engine showed that as PS concentrations increased to 5 percent, power output increased at approximately the same rate. "Turning plastic into fuel is a way to get rid of garbage and generate electricity," Kong said. If researchers can figure out a way to burn the material more completely, and thus reduce unwanted emissions, this could be an interesting way to recycle PS waste -- at least some of the cleaner stuff. The source of the report is a study titled "Energy Recovery from Waste Plastics by Using Blends of Biodiesel and Polystyrene in Diesel Engines" from the Energy & Fuels journal.
Using PS to boost diesel fuel
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at [email protected]