SK Geo Centric (SKGC), SUEZ and Loop Industries (Loop) announced on February 15 (Montreal, Canada local time) that the Chemesis industrial platform in Saint-Avold, located in the Grand Est region of France, has been selected as the site for the first European Infinite Loop™ manufacturing facility.
SUEZ is a global leader in circular solutions in water and waste, and Loop is a clean technology company whose mission is to accelerate a circular plastics economy by manufacturing 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic and polyester fiber.
This international project, supported by the French Ministries of Industry and Ecology, the Grand Est region and the Saint-Avold Synergy region community, leverages the experience of SKGC in petrochemical processes, the expertise of SUEZ in the area of resource management and the innovative depolymerization technology of Loop. The facility will manufacture 100% recycled and infinitely recyclable virgin-quality polyethylene terephthalate (“PET”) resin and has a planned capacity of 70,000 metric tons per year. This facility will help address the demand for recycled PET, which has continued to grow due to European regulations and requirements and will provide European-based global brands with a solution to their sustainability objectives of increasing the use of recycled content in their packaging and products.
The Saint-Avold Chemesis industrial platform is strategically situated in the heart of Europe and provides an efficient industrial and infrastructure network (access to energy notably via existing heat networks, road and rail logistics, suppliers, etc.) making it the optimum environment for the manufacturing facility. This project, which represents a projected overall investment of €450 million, will contribute to the sustainable revitalization of the local industrial base and enable the direct creation of 200 new jobs.
Loop’s depolymerization technology utilizes low heat and no added pressure to upcycle low to no value feedstocks (that will otherwise go to incineration or landfill) into the highest purity, virgin-quality PET plastic. At full capacity, the facility could save over 255,000 tons 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, leveraging its knowledge of the European plastics market, its partnerships with industrial players and its dense treatment infrastructure network coverage. By leveraging low value waste that is currently destined for landfill or incineration, this facility offers a solution to the global plastic waste challenge.
(*) Based on latest LCA from March 2022, data is compared to Virgin PET made from dimethyl terephthalate (DMT).
A local consultation process will be launched in the coming weeks to present the project to the general public. The three partners aim to start construction work in early 2025 with plant commissioning slated for 2027.
The facility in Europe is part of the global commercialization strategy of Loop’s technology. SKGC and Loop are currently focused on the planning of the projected first Infinite Loop™ manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea, which is expected to break ground in 2023.
Roland Lescure, French Minister of Industry, said, “I welcome the decision of SUEZ, Loop and SKGC to choose France and the Saint-Avold chemical platform to set up their first European chemical plastics recycling unit. This pioneer process will close the plastic cycle by recycling packaging indefinitely with no loss of quality and low CO2 emissions thanks to France’s highly decarbonized electricity mix. This project shows how the industry can provide solutions for the ecological transition, as it contributes to the development of a circular economy that saves natural resources and secures France’s supply of plastics. The establishment of this plant in France shows how the government’s climate ambition can be a lever for green reindustrialization.”
“The Grand Est region is particularly proud to welcome and support SUEZ, Loop and SKGC on its territory. This considerable investment, which will create jobs, represents a further decisive step in the environmental transition of the Saint-Avold Carling chemical platform. It is another success story that testifies to the attractiveness of our region. The Grand Est region and its agency Invest Eastern France has devoted significant resources to this project and has been able to make the difference with SUEZ and its Canadian and Korean partners. The challenge is simple: the environment creates jobs and reindustrializes our territories. We want to become the reference region for the circular economy,” said Franck Leroy, President of the Grand Est Region.
Salvatore Coscarella, President of the urban community of Saint-Avold, commented, “This industrial project is a real opportunity for the development of the Chemesis platform, which is part of a decarbonization and circular economy dynamic that I support and promote within the agglomeration community. This project will bring a brownfield site back to life and will also enable the consolidation of the dense network of industrial subcontractors present locally. I am very pleased that this plant will be set up, which strengthens the territory’s historical industrial activity thanks to the joint and coordinated action of the Saint-Avold Synergie agglomeration, ‘Moselle attractivité’, the Grand Est region and the state.”
Na Kyung-Soo, CEO of SK Geo Centric, said: “We are pleased to achieve the meaningful milestone of selecting the Infinite Loop™ Europe project location in France. SK Geo Centric is committed to contribute its extensive petrochemical operating experience to this strategic partnership with Loop and SUEZ which will lead to a sustainable circular economy and a low-carbon future in Europe.”
Loop Founder and CEO Daniel Solomita commented, “The announcement of our first Infinite Loop™ manufacturing facility location in Europe is a major milestone in the worldwide commercialization of Loop’s technology”.
“Saint-Avold was chosen as the location of our facility due to its proximity to feedstock sources and its extensive road and rail links in Europe, which facilitates the distribution of Loop™ PET resin throughout the continent. We look forward to bringing our groundbreaking technology to Europe and to support the sustainability objectives of European based global brand companies by supplying 100% recycled virgin-quality Loop™ PET resin.”
“SUEZ is thrilled by this industrial partnership: it represents an innovative response to the increasing challenges of recycling plastics at the European and global level. The partnership will directly support the circular economy of plastics, closing the loop with recycled and infinitely recyclable virgin-quality polyethylene terephthalate (“PET”), said Sabrina Soussan, SUEZ Chairman and CEO. “SUEZ will provide its partners Loop and SK Geo Centric with its expertise, infrastructures and ability to collect and manage waste,” she added.