Environmental services company Suez, Quebec-based PET recycler Loop Industries and and SK Geo Centric, a subsidiary of South Korean group SK, have announced that they have now selected a site for the previously announced construction of Europe’s first Infinite Loop plant. The three partners, each of whom has an equal share in the project, have opted to build their planned manufacturing facility at the Chemesis industrial platform in Saint-Avold, located in the Grand Est region of France.
Initially, when the project was announced in 2020, it consisted of just Suez and Loop Industries. The partnership was expanded to include SK Global Centric in June 2022, following SKGC’s acquisition of a 10 percent equity stake in Loop Industries the previous year. SK was also given options to acquire additional shares at successively higher prices, and gained representation on Loop’s Board of Directors.
The present project will see the establishment of a facility that will manufacture 100% recycled and infinitely recyclable virgin-quality PET resin based on the proprietary depolymerisation technology developed by Loop. The planned capacity is 70,000 tonnes per year.
With the coming European legislation, under which PET bottles will have to contain at least 25% recycled content from 2025, and at least 30% from 2030, high-quality recycled PET will be in short supply. When the capacity of this project comes on stream, it will offer European-based global brands a source of the kind of highly pure, virgin quality recycled PET they need.
Loop Industries is commercialising a no-pressure, low-heat process to break down PET into monoethylene glycol (MEG) and dimethyl terephthalate (DMT), chemicals that can be used to make virgin-quality PET plastic. The partners claim that at full capacity, the facility could save over 255,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, when compared to virgin PET resin made from fossil fuels.
The entry flows of feedstock will be collected, sorted and prepared by Suez. The company will utilise the partnerships and infrastructure already in place on behalf of its current waste management operations to ensure the continuity of the feedstock supply.