Carbios develops bio-recycling technology in 5-year project

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Photo by Carbios SA

French cleantech specialist Carbios SA has completed the fifth and final key stage of its Thanaplast project, which studies the production and recycling of biopolymers.

Led by Carbios, Thanaplast is a five-year €22m programme aimed at developing new industrial processes to improve the production and recycling of biopolymers.

According to Carbios, the project, which involved 60 scientists, has now been completed.

During the final key stage, and in the field of bio-recycling, Carbios said it has demonstrated the ability to synthetise PET oligomers made out of terephthalic acid coming from its bio-recycling process of PET plastic bottles.

The company was subsequently able to successfully produce virgin PET from post-consumer PET plastic bottles treated by enzymatic hydrolysis. 

In addition, Carbios has also set up Carbiolice – a joint venture with Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and the SPI funds run by Bpifrance – to pursue the industrialisation of its biodegradation process.

“This 5-year research and development programme has led to the emergence of two valorisation routes for plastics end-of-life: the biodegradation of PLA-based plastics and the recycling of PET,” explained Alain Marty, scientific director of Carbios.

According to Marty, throughout the project, “highly specific” enzymes have been discovered and optimised to enable their introduction at a very high temperature within a plastic and to improve their catalytic properties.

“This work has led to the development of very innovative processes whose industrial implementation is already conducted within Carbiolice since 2016,” he added. 

Marty said the “next step” for the company was to launch a PET bio-recycling pilot plant

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