Carbios and Indorama Ventures have announced plans to build a manufacturing plant that will use Carbios’ PET bio-recycling technology at Indorama Ventures’ PET production site in France, with the aim to be operational by 2025.

Carbios’ C-ZYME technology can depolymerise any form of PET waste (allegedly regardless of colour or complexity) into its core monomers, which can then be used to manufacture PET that the company claims is 100% recycled and infinitely recyclable. Last year, Carbios opened an industrial demonstration plant aimed at validating and scaling the technology.

According to Carbios and Indorama Ventures, the goal of the latest collaboration is to build and operate the world’s first industrial-scale enzymatic PET bio-recycling plant in Longlaville, France, with a processing capacity estimated at 50,000 tonnes of post-consumer PET waste annually – apparently equivalent to 2 billion PET bottles or 2.5 billion PET trays.

After the reportedly positive results of Indorama Ventures’ initial technical analysis of Carbios’ technology over the past several months, both parties agreed to complete a due diligence process.

A feasibility study will be conducted for the industrialization of Carbios’ technology on Indorama Ventures’ French production site. Subject to the successful completion of these technical and economical evaluations, Indorama Ventures says it will co-invest in the project.

The capital investment required for the project is expected to be around €150 million for Carbios’ core technology, including an additional purification step, which has been integrated into the process. In addition, an estimated €50 million investment will be allocated for the infrastructure preparation of the site, according to the companies.

Carbios adds that it is expecting to finalise non-dilutive financial support from the French government Grand-Est Region, reportedly based on an offer received last week by the company from the minister of industry, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, and the president of Grand-Est Region, Jean Rottner.

Agnès Pannier-Runacher, French minister of industry, comments: “The announcement by Carbios of a flagship project of enzymatic plastic recycling demonstrates our ability to foster the emergence of innovative industry leaders with cutting edge technologies for the energy transition.

“It is a success for industrial startups in France as well as a key milestone in the France 2030 strategy, making our industry ready to meet the needs of the Transition.”

Jean Rottner, president of Grand-Est Region, adds: “We are very pleased to welcome Carbios in Grand-Est Region and very proud to greet Longlaville site selection for their world-first 100% bio-recycled PET plant, in partnership with Indorama Ventures, already present and very active in our Region.

“Carbios reference plant is fully integrated within Grand-Est Region ambition to become a leading territory for PET circular economy. This project represents a first significant milestone in building our complete ecosystem.”

This financial support will be conditional on the notification to the European Commission. The companies claim the project could also create 150 direct and indirect full-time jobs.

Emmanuel Ladent, CEO of Carbios, says: “With this first medium-sized plant, we want to become the world reference for the Circular Economy of plastics and textiles.

“By engaging in such a partnership with Indorama Ventures, we confirm our commitment to pursue our initial industrial development in France. This plant will pave the way towards international commercial and industrial deployment.”

D K Agarwal, CEO of Indorama Ventures, concludes: “We are pleased to implement Carbios’ innovative and transformative technology at our Longlaville site.

“Bio-recycled PET addresses customers’ growing demand to contribute to a cleaner planet through high-quality plastics while decreasing the use of hydrocarbons.”

Carbios notes that the collaboration will meet the growing demand from large consumer goods companies, including its partners and shareholders, which includes L’Oréal, Michelin, L’Occitane, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo, and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. Nestlé has previously unveiled a prototype for its Perrier water bottles based on Carbios’ recycling technology and using waste coloured PET materials.