Clermont-Ferrand, France — Carbios company, specializing in enzymatic bioprocesses applied to plastic and textile polymers, has announced a major step forward in the development of its enzymatic biorecycling process of polyesters by rending it applicable to crystalline PET (polyethylene terephthalate). It is applicable too to all kind of plastic waste containing PET, namely bottles (transparent, opaque or multi-layer), packaging and films. This follows Carbios’ previous announcement that it had successfully depolymerized 100 percent amorphous PET based commercial products into its original monomers TPA (terephthalic acid) and MEG (mono ethylene glycol).
According to Carbios, the new step is a world premiere that confirms the applicative potential of Carbios’ technology and offers the opportunity of an infinite biorecycling of plastic products made out of amorphous and/or crystalline PET. This enables Carbios to access a market estimated to be worth more than 31 billion dollars per year.
The market of PET plastics represented a world production of 21 million tons in 20142, with an annual growth rate of 4 to 5 percent. The exceptional properties of this thermoplastic material make it the most favored polyester for manufacturing plastic bottles (69 percent of PET plastics), films (14 percent), packaging (10 percent) and other applications (7 percent). However, conventional technologies to recycle PET involves heavy sorting constraints for a limited recycling rate and above all, the production of lower quality secondary products.
The patented depolymerization process developed by Carbios is said to enable the regeneration of monomers with no loss in quality. After separation and purification, these monomers could then be used for the synthesis of virgin PET coming at 100 percent from Carbios enzymatic biorecycling process.
Alain Marty, Chief Scientific Officer of Carbios commented: “I’m proud that Carbios, the LISBP and the CRITT Bio-Industries teams met this incredible challenge that was to create a 100 percent recycling process for bottles and cosmetic packaging products. This success is the result of a multidisciplinary approach combining the screening of microbiological biodiversity, the discovery of a remarkable enzyme, its evolution by enzymatic engineering, and process engineering.”
“These results comfort our innovative industrial approach in PET based plastic biorecycling and offer the prospect of an early deployment of our proprietary technology together with the largest global players in this industry,” stated Jean-Claude Lumaret, CEO of Carbios.