Following these results, work has been undertaken to optimize the enzyme used in CARBIOS’ biorecycling process, with the support of the teams from Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB), and in particular the Engineering Laboratory of Biological Systems and Processes (LISBP). A molecular modelling study has been carried out to analyze the relations between the 3D structure of the enzyme and its efficiency. This has made it possible to set targets enabling to improve performance and achieve a conversion rate that only CARBIOS can claim today. Thus, the time of hydrolysis has been divided by three, 97% conversion being obtained after 24 hours of reaction. Such a result enables to optimize the profitability of the process and significantly increase the flows of PET waste that can be treated enzymatically.
Towards an acceleration of the industrialization stage
Given its progress, the company decided to accelerate these developments and initiate the industrial demonstration stage in 2019 with the set-up of a 10,000 metric tons plant that will produce the first volumes of virgin PET from our technology by mid-2021.