French enzymatic PET recycler Carbios has signed an Expression of Intent agreement with an unnamed major PET producer that will allow it to build its first recycling plant.
As a result of this non-exclusive, non-binding agreement, Carbios will now investigate the possibility of building this facility on a site owned by the PET producer.
This first plant is expected to allow for an annual production of 40,000 tonnes of recycled PET, with the first revenues likely to be generated in 2025.
Carbios’ business model allows it to license its technologies, know-how and sales of enzymes to licensees and this plant will also act as a showcase for the technology.
Its process uses enzymes to deconstruct PET into its basic components that can then be used to produce new PET equivalent to virgin. The company has also developed a similar technique for PLA.
Carbios deputy chief executive Martin Stephan said: “We are delighted to be engaged in strategic discussions with this important PET producer. The building of this first-of-a-kind 100% PET recycling facility is a major step in Carbios’ development.”
Last week, Carbios also announced that tyre firm Michelin has successfully tested and applied the enzymatic recycling process for PET plastic waste in order to create a high tenacity tyre fibre that meets Michelin’s technical requirements.
Michelin director or polymer research Nicolas Seeboth said: “We are very proud to be the first to have produced and tested recycled technical fibres for tyres. These reinforcements were made from coloured bottles and recycling using the enzymatic technology of our partner Carbios.
“These high-tech reinforcements have demonstrated their ability to provide performance identical to those from the oil industry.”
Michelin has a commitment to use 40% of its materials from renewable or recycled origin by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
Every year, 1.6 billion tyres are sold globally by all tyre manufactures with 800,000 tonnes of that coming from PET fibres. When applied just to Michelin, this represents 3 billion plastic bottles per year that could be recycled into technical fibres.