Carbios get €54m from French State and Grand-Est Region to finance construction of PET Biorecycling plant

Emmanuel Ladent, CEO of Carbios
Emmanuel Ladent, Chief Executive Officer of Carbios

Carbios, a global pioneer in the development and industrialization of biological technologies for reinventing the life cycle of plastics and textiles, recently announced that its project has been selected by the French State for funding of €30 million from the French State as part of the investment plan France 2030, and €12.5 million from the Grand-Est Region.

The implementation of this funding is conditional to the European Commission’s approval of the corresponding state aid scheme, followed by the conclusion of national aid agreements. As part of the national call for projects on “Plastics Recycling” operated by ADEME, Carbios’ project to finalize the industrialization of its PET biorecycling process has been selected.

Carbios also announced that it has been granted total funding of €11.4 million from the French State as part of France 2030, of which €8.2 million directly for Carbios (€5 million in repayable advances) and €3.2 million for its academic partners INRAE, INSA and CNRS via the TWB and TBI joint service and research units. This funding will enable to continue its research into the optimization and continuous improvement of Carbios’ enzymatic tech.

What does Carbios’ biorecycling plant mean for France?

The reference plant in Longlaville in the Grand-Est region will be the first PET biorecycling plant and is due for commissioning in 2025. It will make it possible to relocate to France the production of the two components of PET, PTA and MEG, derived from the Carbios process.

Commenting on the Carbios’ biorecycling plant, Christophe Béchu, French Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion said, “Fighting plastic pollution is a global emergency that requires a drastic reduction in its use, but also an increase in its recycling.”

“For many years, French public and private research teams have been working together to develop a new enzymatic recycling tech. By supporting the construction of Carbios first biorecycling plant in the world, France is proving that Carbios’ tech has now become an industrial reality, making it possible to recycle waste that was previously difficult to recycle.”

Commenting on the funding, Roland Lescure, French Minister for Industry, said, “I’m delighted to be able to announce, at the opening of the World Plastics Conference, the French State’s support of nearly €54 million for Carbios’ innovative enzymatic plastic recycling projects.”

Roland Lescure, French Minister for Industry
Roland Lescure, French Minister for Industry

“The construction in France in 2023 of the world’s first enzymatic plastic recycling plant is an important step towards building a fully circular plastic economy, one of the greatest environmental challenges of the next two decades. This project shows just how much the ecological transition is also an opportunity for the green reindustrialization of our country.”

Bruno Bonnell, Secretary General for Investment FRANCE 2030, commented, “France 2030’s support is twofold: to provide France with an innovative plastics processing solution, and to position Carbios’ business model, based on license sales, at an international level.”

“Carbios is a company whose development has been progressive, from public research, through the creation of a start-up, to the industrialization of a technological process. This is a continuum that France 2030 supports in particular, and Carbios is an excellent showcase.”

Franck Leroy, President of Grand-Est Region: “I’m very grateful to Emmanuel Ladent and the Carbios teams for choosing the Grand-Est Region to set up their world’s first 100% biorecycled PET plant. By supporting this project, the Region is actively contributing to preserve the environment, while creating new jobs and added value in the Grand-Est.”

“This is also excellent news for Longlaville, and I’d like to pay tribute to both its Mayor and the President of the Metropolitan area. They have spared no effort, with the constant support of the French State and ADEME, to make this plant a reality. The Carbios reference plant is fully in line with the ambition of the Grand-Est region to become a leader in the PET circular economy. This project represents a further milestone in the construction of our ecosystem.”

What does the biorecycling plant mean for Carbios?

The plant will secure the sales of the first volumes of recycled PET produced with Carbios’ technology, and to offer its partners recycled PET of the same quality as virgin PET. Once the necessary permits have been obtained, which should be granted by the end of 2023, in line with the announced start of construction before the end of the year, the plant is scheduled to be commissioned in 2025. This will be followed by a period of ramp-up to full capacity.

First-of-its kind, the Carbios biorecycling plant will have a nominal processing capacity of 50,000 tonnes of PET waste per year, equivalent to 2 billion bottles or 2.5 billion food trays.

Emmanuel Ladent, CEO of Carbios, said, “Thanks to the French State’s previous support, we were able to show the economic and environmental competitiveness of our tech at the industrial demonstrator scale in Clermont-Ferrand. The renewed support from ADEME and Grand-Est Region are crucial for this step which marks the start of our global deployment.”

“Our first plant will be the global showcase for our PET biorecycling tech, and we are proud that it is located in France. I would like to thank the Carbios Board of Directors, and in particular its Chairman Philippe Pouletty, for his role in bringing this first plant to fruition.”

Selection for funding by the French State through France 2030 and the Grand-Est Region complements the recent exclusive, long-term partnership with Novozymes, the world leader in enzyme production, one of the main aims is to ensure the supply of enzymes to Carbios’ Longlaville plant and future licensed plants. Carbios recently secured a first supply source for its future plant by winning part of the CITEO tender for the biorecycling of multilayer trays.

France 2030 is an investment plan on an unprecedented scale. €54bn will be invested to ensure that companies, universities and research firms can respond competitively to the ecological and attractiveness challenges of the world ahead, and to foster the emergence of future leaders in our sectors of excellence, particularly in the field of ecological transition.

From fundamental research, to emergence of an idea, to production of a product or service, France 2030 supports the entire life cycle of innovation, right through to industrialization.