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Package deal in a Munich laboratory, a group of engineers has worked through a set of chemical reactions that could sharply reduce the cost of manufacturing commonly used chemicals such as polystyrene. The development is significant, as polystyrene is a key ingredient to make a number of products including tyres, carpet backing and disposable coffee cups as well as plates.

The company running the laboratory is NanoScape, a 12-strong start-up formed in 2001 by researchers at Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians University. The company also has research connections with Fritz Haber Institute, one of Germany's leading scientific establishments. The work of NanoScape involves creating new catalysts to speed up the production of styrene

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