Plastic water bottles
Carbios’ C-Zyme recycling process uses an enzyme capable of depolymerizing polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Photo by Boris Khamitsevich

Carbios launches industrial demonstration plant in France

The industrial demonstration plant will apply Carbios’ C-Zyme recycling process to depolymerize PET.

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September 29, 2021

Carbios, a plastic recycling technology provider based in France, has officially launched its industrial demonstration plant operating with its enzymatic recycling technology that the company is calling C-Zyme. The demonstration plant was installed at Carbios’ Cataroux site in Clermont-Ferrand.

Carbios’ C-Zyme recycling process uses an enzyme capable of depolymerizing polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The depolymerized monomers are purified before being repolymerized into PET of comparable quality to virgin PET derived from petrochemicals. The company says this process should enable unlimited recycling of PET as well as the production of 100 percent recycled and 100 percent recyclable PET products that maintain virgin quality throughout the process.

“For more than 10 years, we have been creating innovative solutions to rethink the end of life of plastics and textiles,” says Jean-Claude Lumaret, Carbios’ chief executive officer. “This industrial demonstration plant fulfills the promises of our enzymatic recycling process, C-Zyme.”

According to a news release from Carbios, the demonstration plant marks the culmination of the development of the C-Zyme technology. The company says the plant 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, the company says its operation will enable the complete engineering documents for the process to be drawn up for the building and operation of a 40,000-metric-ton-per-year capacity reference unit as well as future factories to be run under licensing agreements.

“The demonstration plant includes a 20-cubic-meter depolymerization reactor capable of processing [two metric tons] of PET per cycle, which is the equivalent of 100,000 bottles,” Lumaret says.

Carbios reports that a team of 10 people are optimizing the plant’s operating parameters and working to produce monomer batches. Additionally, the company says an initial hydrolysis study has been completed.