7.5 Million Euro Investment in French Plastics Recycling Program
2019-01-28 10:36 Monday
French Biotechnology companies Carbios and Toulouse White Biotechnology were awarded 7.5 million euros to develop their plastic recycling projects. The project uses enzymes to break down plastic waste.
The funds have been granted by the General Secretariat for Investments (SGPI) as part of the French government-sponsored Investments for the Future Program. 7.5 million euros will be paid out over the course of 39 months. Carbios, the company behind the project, will get 40% of the total.
The money will help speed up the industrialization of Carbios's technology, which attempts to recycle plastics containing the polymer polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a material commonly found in textiles and bottles.
Carbios's "biorecycling" process uses specially designed enzymes to break down plastic polymers without heating them. Unlike current processes, Carbios's technology can make new plastics of the same quality as petrochemicals, allowing PET plastics to be recycled indefinitely.
The money will help Carbios work to scale up the biological cycle to the point where the company can prove it works on an industrial scale. This includes the establishment of a complete plant designed to demonstrate the feasibility of the process. Construction of the plant is due to begin in France in mid-2019.
Toulouse White Biotechnology is working to improve Carbios's biocycling technology. Recently, the company supported a molecular modeling research that focused on the relationship between the 3-D shape of enzymes and their efficiency. This research enables Carbios to improve the efficiency of enzymes in the decomposition process.
Carbios's backers also include cosmetics giant L'Oreal. In 2017, L'Oreal recognized the problem of plastic waste and formed an alliance to try to utilize Carbios's technology.