Canadian clean technology company Loop Industries and Suez, a France-based environmental service provider first announced their plans to collaborate on the construction of the first Infinite Loop recycling facility in Europe in September 2020.
At that time, the companies claimed that the recycling facility, dedicated to PET plastic, would be the largest in the world, with the potential to produce the equivalent of approximately 4.2 billion food grade beverage bottles made of 100% recycled and recyclable PET plastic annually.
The project has suffered some delay - final site selection and engineering were originally targeted to be completed by mid-2021 and commissioning of the facility was projected in 2023 - but is now once more set to advance.
According to a statement released 16 Jan. by the partners, the intent to form a joint venture to build the new manufacturing facility. The two companies have secured exclusive rights until June 2022 to purchase a 130,000 m² parcel of land in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine, in the region of Normandy in Northern France. The site is strategically located for waste plastic feedstock transportation via the Seine River from the Paris region. The purchase price for the land is approximately €1.3 M; the capital investment required for the project is expected to be €250 M and the project is expected to create 180 full-time manufacturing and engineering jobs.
Port-Jérôme was selected after an extensive review of several dozen potential sites across Europe.
For the past five years, France has been carrying out a programme designed to enhance the attractiveness of France for foreign investment Called the Choose France Business Summit, the forum was initiated by French president Macron in 2018 - and these efforts are now starting to pay off.
“The Infinite Loop project demonstrates investors’ confidence in our country’s strengths,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Industry, attached to the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery.
Once all the permits have been obtained, construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2023, with commissioning approximately 18 months later.
The Infinite Loop manufacturing facility will have an annual capacity of 70,000 tonnes of PET resin made from 100% recycled content per year. Loop Industries owns patented and proprietary technology that depolymerises low-value and unrecyclable waste PET plastic and polyester fibre, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets and textiles of any color, transparency or condition to its base building blocks (monomers). The technology can even handle ocean plastics that have been degraded by the sun and salt, The monomers are filtered, purified and polymerised to create virgin-quality Loop branded PET resin suitable for use in food-grade packaging and polyester fibre.
At full capacity, the facility is projected to save over 255,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, compared to virgin PET resin made from fossil fuels.
The facility is aligned with European plastic regulation and objectives, such as the EU’s plastic levy, which charges €800 per tonne of non-recyclable plastic waste, as well as France’s ambition to transition to 100% recyclable plastic by 2025.