Michelin invests in Canadian plastic recycling technology firm
Montreal-based Pyrowave’s technology involves a chemical process to recycle plastic scrap.
Photo courtesy of Pyrowave.

Michelin invests in Canadian plastic recycling technology firm

Montreal-based Pyrowave closes on series B investment funding round led by global tire producer.

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Montreal-based Pyrowave, which describes itself as having developed technology allowing for the infinite recycling of plastics, says it has closed on a series B round of investment funding led by global tire producer Michelin.

The funding, for an undisclosed amount, will help Pyrowave add scale and bring its modular microwave-based chemical recycling technology to market, says the firm.

“This investment is a concrete illustration of our venture capital strategy, which aims to support the most innovative companies, with a strong growth potential, and focusing on the relevant domains for our businesses,” says Matthieu van der Elst of Michelin Ventures. “Alongside our current portfolio and our outstanding R&D, this investment strengthens Michelin’s position as a referent in the field of high technology sustainable materials.”

Michelin has been actively investing in recycling technologies from around in the world in the past three years. In April 2020, the company announced a $3.25 million development agreement with Sweden-based Enviro. That firm says it has developed a technology to modify the chemical composition and physical phase of the polymer portion of scrap tires during a pyrolysis process.

In 2018, Michelin acquired United States-based Lehigh Technologies, and has subsequently invested to bring that firm’s scrap tires-to-micronized rubber powder (MRP) process to Europe.

Pyrowave says that after more than one year of technological review, its technology has “demonstrated its ability to produce recycled styrene monomer from plastic waste to be later integrated in the production of synthetic rubber, a major component found in tires.” According to Pyrowave, Michelin has assessed Pyrowave technology and has decided to support it.

The financing round was co-led by Sofinnova Partners, a Europe-based venture capital firm that targets “sustainable chemistry and biotechnology,” according to Pyrowave.

Describing Pyrowave’s modular microwave-based technology, the company’s CEO Jocelyn Doucet comments, “With traditional recycling technologies, the market applications of recycled plastics are very limited because of contamination or plastic degradation during the process which reduces its quality and potential for applications. New recycling technologies like Pyrowave’s decompose the complex chemical structure of plastics back into a simpler form that can be used to make virgin plastics and other products in multiple applications.”

Adds Doucet, “This investment marks a turning point in the circular economy of plastics and the support from Michelin sends the signal that the market is ready to implement these solutions.”

“Pyrowave’s unique, game-changing technology brings an immediate answer to plastic waste with a solid, scalable solution,” says Joško Bobanović, a partner at Sofinnova Partners. “This investment is aligned with Sofinnova Partners’ support for exceptional entrepreneurs delivering sustainable solutions to solve an immediate societal, ecological and business challenge.”