You can say this about the leaders of Oregon-based Agilyx: They don't shy away from a challenge.
Several years ago the company launched with plans to create oil from low-value, post-consumer plastics, something no other company had managed to cost-effectively achieve. Now, with global petroleum prices in a prolonged slump, the theoretical price advantage of oil created from alternative sources has disappeared, and Agilyx last month announced it was shifting its business focus.
The new approach will see the Portland-area company take in polystyrene material that is not otherwise being recovered. The plastic will be used as feedstock for a process that harnesses some of the firm's plastics-to-oil (PTO) equipment, but instead of oil, the resulting product will be a styrene monomer that the company hopes can be sold back to companies that make polystyrene products like cups and trays.