Canadian clean technology company Loop Industries and Suez, a France-based environmental service provider, are renewing plans for the first Infinite Loop recycling facility in Europe, a delayed project first announced in 2020.
The site, dedicated to PET, would be the largest in the world, the companies said initially, with the potential to produce the equivalent of 4.2 billion food grade beverage bottles made of 100 percent recycled and recyclable PET each year.
The partners had hoped to pick a final site in 2021 and commission the facility in 2023, but in a Jan. 16 news release the companies said they now have nailed down rights to a site in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine, in the region of Normandy in Northern France.
The project has suffered some delay - final site selection and engineering were originally targeted to be completed by mid-2021 and commissioning of the facility was projected in 2023 - but is now once more set to advance.
The site is strategically located for waste plastic feedstock transportation via the Seine River from Paris. The purchase price for the land is approximately 1.3 million euros ($1.47 million) ; the capital investment required for the project is expected to be 250 million euros ($283 million) and the project is expected to create 180 full-time manufacturing and engineering jobs.
Port-Jérôme was selected after an extensive review of several dozen potential sites across Europe, the companies said.
For the past five years, France has been carrying out a program designed to enhance the attractiveness of France for foreign investment called the Choose France Business Summit.
“The Infinite Loop project demonstrates investors’ confidence in our country’s strengths,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, minister delegate for industry, attached to the minister of the economy, finance and recovery.
Once all the permits have been obtained, construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2023, with commissioning approximately 18 months later.
The Infinite Loop manufacturing facility will have an annual capacity of 70,000 metric tons of PET resin made from 100 percent recycled content per year. Loop Industries owns patented and proprietary technology that depolymeriszes low-value and unrecyclable waste PET plastic and polyester fiber, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets and textiles of any color, transparency or condition to its base building blocks (monomers). The technology can even handle ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and salt, The monomers are filtered, purified and polymerised to create virgin-quality Loop branded PET resin suitable for use in food-grade packaging and polyester fibre.
At full capacity, the facility is projected to save over 255,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, compared to virgin PET resin made from fossil fuels.