Carbios makes progress on biorecycling of PET plastic

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Carbios makes progress on biorecycling of PET plastic

Related tags: Recycling

French bioplastics player Carbios says it has made significant advances in the production of PET oligomers made out of terephthalic acid derived from its biorecycling process of PET plastic bottles.

The development means that Carbios has demonstrated that is now possible to use PET plastic waste rather than fossil resources for the synthesis of PET oligomers, making the process significantly more sustainable.

For cosmetics and personal care packaging companies looking to use recycled PET packaging for their products, this allows them to boast more sustainable credentials and a reduction in carbon footprints.

Two-step process

Carbios engineers have developed a two-step process which is relatively straight forward and inexpensive to use.

The first, and considered to be the most crucial, is the synthesis of PET oligomers from monomers of terephthalic acid and mono ethylene glycol.

The second step allows the synthesis of PET by polycondensation of the oligomers that had previously been obtained.

Building on previous research

Until now the company’s development team has successfully depolymerized PET bottle into their initial monomers, so the new development takes the process to the next level.

A first scale of the new process has since been performed, with 20 kgs of PET being treated and depolymerized at 90%.

Followingthe depolymerization process, the terephthalic acid produced was collected and purified, showing that the purity levels reached a level above 99%.

No difference to oil produced alternatives

Ultimately the team claims that analytic technics of reference it has achieved from the process do not allow for any difference with commercial terephthalic acid produced from oil.

We have demonstrated that the purity of the terephthalic acid obtained through our original enzymatic process allows the efficient synthesis of PET oligomers,” ​said Alain Marty, chief scientific officer of Carbio.

“This is a new important step that reinforces the industrial potential of our technology. We are very confident in the forthcoming demonstration of a complete recycling of PET waste into new PET bottles of same quality as the original products. It is now our short-term goal before operating, with key players of the PET value chain, a pilot plant and launching the industrial demonstration of the process.”

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