Cleaning up the oceans
The company will use the funds for further development of its enzymatic depolymerisation process for plastic bottles and is set to reach demonstration scale from the current pilot scale by 2020.
The company told European Biotechnology that its esterase-based recycling process runs under mild conditions and can completely depolymerise all kind of polyethylene terephtalate (PET) plastics into its monomers (monoethylene glycol and terephtalic acid). With 64 million tonnes of annual production, PET is the most common non-degradable plastics used in packaging and the most significant polluter of the oceans. According to estimates of the WHO, there will be more PET in the oceans than fish.
Industrial process by 2020
While not disclosing the exact time needed for PET degradation, Carbios said that it is “scalable for industrial use as an alternative to common thermomechanical PET recycling processes.” According to its CEO, Jean-Claude Lumaret, the process developed within the Thanaplast project allows repolymersation into virgin PET with no quality loss or drastic presorting or pretreatment requirement.
“Our PET biorecycling technology follows a new life-cycle model of circular economy,” he said. “Our innovation can help to close the loop by recycling PET plastics into similar-quality products.”
In 2016, the company turned profitable for the first time in its history. It reported 2016 revenues of €8.9m, an operating income of €3.5m, and a net income of €5.0m