France-based Carbios was established to lead and to execute the five-year Thanaplast programme partially funded by the French state via national investment bank BPI to develop enzymatic processes for the biodegradation and the biorecycling of plastic polymers.
The project, which reached all the original milestones as set on 30 June 2017, has now received the final grant payment due from Bpifrance, officially marking the end of the program.
From the very start 60 scientists were involved in the project, in which key academic and industrial partners (INRA, TWB, INSA de Toulouse – LISBP/Critt-Bioindustries -, CNRS, Université de Poitiers, Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients, Group Barbier and Deinove – took part. The five-year project had a budget of in total €22 million, including €9 million from BpiFrance, of which €6.8 million were directly allocated to CARBIOS in successive instalments at the completion of the five key stages of the project.
Carbios announced a number of successful developments during the final, key stage of the program. These included: the biorecycling of PET: synthetizing PET oligomers from terephthalic acid derived from the biorecycling of PET plastic bottles and the production of virgin PET from post-consumer PET plastic bottles treated by enzymatic hydrolysis. Carbios also explored the industrialization of its biodegradation process through the joint-venture Carbiolice, created in 2016 with Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and the SPI funds run by Bpifrance.
Alain Marty, Scientific Director of Carbios, is delighted of the success of the THANAPLAST project: “This 5-year research and development program 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, the predominant plastic in our bottles and trays. Highly specific enzymes have been discovered and optimized 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. Our next step will be to launch a PET biorecycling pilot plant. Thank you to everyone who contributed to these successes.”
“Through this major collaborative project, our ambition was to bring together the best academic and private scientists to introduce a real breakthrough technology in the world of plastics. The work of the teams involved in the THANAPLAST program has produced remarkable results and I particularly want to thank our partners for their implication. We are now in the industrial scale-up stage of our processes to make these innovations concrete and engage a major change in the way we handle plastics life-cycle”, concluded Jean-Claude Lumaret, CEO of Carbios.