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Indorama Ventures, Carbios partner to build PET biorecycling plant in France

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Indorama Ventures, Carbios partner to build PET biorecycling plant in France

Bangkok-based Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. has signed a nonbinding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Carbios, a biotech company based in Clermont-Ferrand, France, to form a joint venture to construct a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) biorecycling plant in France.

Source: RecyclingToday

Based on and subject to the terms in the MOU, Indorama Ventures says it plans to mobilize about 110 million euros (or about $118 million) for the joint venture in equity and nonconvertible loan financing, pending final engineering documentation and final economic feasibility studies.

According to a press release from Indorama Ventures, Carbios, which filed for plant permitting in December 2022, should acquire 13 hectares of land from Indorama Ventures’ existing PET plant at Longlaville, France, and expects to be granted permits by the third quarter of the year, allowing construction to begin by the end of the year and targeted commissioning in 2025. Indorama Ventures says the land offers the ability to double capacity as well.

Carbios has developed a disruptive enzymatic depolymerization technology that enables efficient and solvent-free recycling of PET plastic and textile waste into virgin-like products. After successful ongoing operations in its demonstration plant in Clermont-Ferrand, Carbios says it has been collaborating with Indorama Ventures for the past year to assess the commercial and technical feasibility of the technology.

The industrial-scale enzymatic PET recycling plant in Longlaville will have the capacity to process about 50,000 tons of postconsumer PET per year, equivalent to 2 billion PET colored bottles or 2.5 billion PET trays.

According to a statement from Indorama Ventures, a procurement manager jointly named by the joint venture partners will manage the plant feedstock sourcing. A portion of feedstock will be sourced in France from Citeo, as Carbios secured an initial source of supply for its future plant by winning part of the Citeo tender for the biorecycling of multilayer trays.

We are encouraged by the positive results of the due diligence our teams have performed so far on the technical soundness of Carbios’ technology. We are confident that this groundbreaking development could be a valuable addition to the range of solutions for the circular economy of PET plastics and fibers. Subject to the successful performance of the Longlaville Project, we are considering expanding Carbios’ technology at other sites worldwide for future development.

Yash Lohia, chairman of the ESG Council at Indorama Ventures

Both parties have acknowledged their mutual support for the project and their intent to finalize contract documentation before the end of the year.

Indorama Ventures says it plans to ensure 100 percent output repolymerization and both partners say they will collaborate to secure feedstock supply.

The companies plan to invest a total of 230 million euros (almost $248 million) in the new plant, which includes the 110 million euros from Indorama and considers the recent impact from inflation. According to Indorama Ventures, project costs will be financed by the sums mobilized by Indorama Ventures, the French State and Grand-Est Region subsidies available for the project and by equity capitalization of the joint venture by Carbios. Part of Carbios’ equity injection into the joint venture will be financed by a portion of Carbios’ current cash position; Carbios is actively examining the best options to finance its remaining equity injection into the joint venture.

The technical due diligence jointly undertaken with Indorama proves the robustness of Carbios’ disruptive technology. At Carbios, we are committed to bringing plastic and textiles into the circular economy. Our first reference unit at Longlaville is a springboard for our industrial and commercial deployment worldwide in order to reach our leadership goals in advanced recycling of PET.

Emmanuel Ladent, CEO of Carbios

The project is part of Indorama Ventures’ Vision 2030 ambition to build on its leadership as a global sustainable chemical company. The company’s ESG commitments include spending $1.5 billion to increase its recycling capacity to 50 billion PET bottles per year by 2025 and 100 billion bottles per year by 2030.

Subject to the success of this first plant in France, Indorama Ventures says it plans to potentially expand the technology to other PET sites for future development.

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