the circular economy
The introduction of enzymes in the value chains of the plastics industry, and in particular for the recovery of end-of-life plastics and textiles, is a world-first designed and developed by Carbios.
Leverage the exceptional specificity of enzymes
Enzymes are currently used in many everyday applications (detergents, biofuels, food, textiles, paper), but using them for the degradation of plastic polymers and textiles for industrial purposes had never been considered. We are the first and only company in the world to combine the two sciences of enzymology and plastics so effectively. Our developments also rely on many fields of expertise, such as microbiology, polymer chemistry or process engineering.
Identification and optimization of enzymes
Our research team is working to develop enzymes naturally present in our environment in order to optimize their polymer degradation activity and their heat resistance. The activity and thermostability of enzymes are essential assets for their efficient and competitive implementation in our industrial processes.
This work is mainly carried out in collaboration with the TBI laboratory (Toulouse Biotechnology Institute) and notably via the cooperative laboratory, PoPLaB (Plastic Polymers and Biotechnologies), co-founded with INSA. In April 2020, Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal in the world, praised the innovative nature of this enzymatic engineering work which paves the way for a virtuous management of the life cycle of plastic (and textile) materials.
Targeted applications and polymers
To date, we have developed proprietary enzymes with the ability to break down certain polyesters, in particular PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is very common in bottles and textiles, and PLA (polylactic acid), a biobased polymer.
Our optimized enzymes are now used in two innovative processes: enzymatic recycling and the production of biodegradable plastics.
Other polymers of interest have already been identified such as polyamides (PA6, PA6.6, etc.), polyolefins (polyethylene PE, polypropylene PP, etc.), elastomers (natural rubber, etc.), for which we could work to identify new degradation enzymes.