Carbios announced the official opening and launch of an industrial demonstration plant operating with its enzymatic recycling technology, C-ZYME®, which was installed on the Cataroux site in Clermont-Ferrand.

“For more than 10 years, we have been creating innovative solutions to rethink the end of life of plastics and textiles,” said Jean-Claude Lumaret, Carbios’ Chief Executive Officer. “This industrial demonstration plant fulfills the promises of our enzymatic recycling process, C-ZYME®. The continuous cycle of recycling PET waste is one step closer to becoming a reality!”

The demonstration plant marks the culmination of the development of the C-ZYME® technology. It will allow the validation of the enzymatic PET recycling process’ technical, environmental, and economic performance, as well as the design of future industrial units. By the end of 2022, its operation will enable the complete engineering documents for the process (Process Design Package) to be drawn up for the building and operation of a 40,000-tonne/year capacity reference unit as well as future factories to be run under licensing agreements.

“The demonstration plant includes a 20m3 depolymerization reactor capable of processing 2 tonnes of PET per cycle, which is the equivalent of 100,000 bottles. This is a watershed moment, highlighting how this revolutionary process works on a large scale,” added Mr. Lumaret.

The optimization of the operating parameters as well as the production of the monomer batches are now carried out by a team of 10 people. An initial hydrolysis has been successfully realized, confirming the upscaling of the process.

The C-ZYME® recycling process uses an enzyme capable of depolymerizing PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is found in a variety of plastic and textile items. The depolymerized monomers are purified before being repolymerized into PET of comparable quality to virgin PET derived from petrochemicals. Unlike traditional methods, Carbios’ breakthrough enables unlimited recycling of all sorts of PET waste (clear, colored, opaque, complex plastics, polyester textiles) as well as the production of 100% recycled and 100% recyclable PET goods that maintain their virgin quality throughout the process.

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