Carbios, a French company that has developed enzyme-based technology to recycle PET plastic, has announced that construction has started on an industrial demonstration plant, designed to provide insights into the operational conditions needed for implementation at large scale.
The new plant will generate technical data that will allow Carbios to define the main parameters for each step of the enzymatic recycling process, on a scale sufficient to be able to plan the operation of future industrial units.
“The demonstration unit allows us to test different waste streams, and to adapt certain steps of our process to the specification of collection systems,” said Antoine Sévenier, industrial development director of Carbios.
It will also allow Carbios to establish the complete engineering documents for the process, from waste to monomers, for the construction and implementation of the first industrial unit for a licensee (estimated capacity between 50 and 100 kt per year).
The demonstration plant is located near Lyon, in France’s Chemistry Valley, the French hub of innovation and industrial production in the chemical, environmental and cleantech sector. Carbios is supported and advised by TechnipFMC for the engineering and construction of this demonstration plant. This collaboration is an important step in the demonstration of the technology and potential future commercialization.
The first phase of the system operations is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2021.
The process developed by Carbios uses proprietary enzymes to depolymerize waste PET plastics into monomers. These monomers can then be repolymerized into PET featuring the same technical and physical properties as virgin PET.
The plant will also produce batches of monomers for technical and regulatory validation of recycled PET by future licensees.
“This demonstration plant will be a showcase site to validate the economic and technical performance of our process and to ensure the training of our future licensees,” said Martin Stephan, Chief Operating Officer of Carbios.