Effectiveness of Patented Technology Producing Pure Monomers
Loop commissioned Kemitek to validate its technology, which turns waste PET plastic and polyester fiber feedstock into its primary building blocks, or monomers: dimethyl terephthalate (“DMT”) and monoethylene glycol (“MEG”), which meet established purity criteria for producing virgin-quality PET.
Kemitek established a rigorous and independent methodology for this verification:
- The Kemitek team was on site at Loop’s Terrebonne, Quebec facilities for 16 days to verify each step of Loop’s technology at Mini-Pilot (25 L reactor) and Pilot scales (6000 L reactor) from feedstock (post-consumer waste PET plastic) to final purified monomers (DMT and MEG).
- Kemitek received the feedstock directly from Loop’s supplier at their facilities. They then dried, sampled, sealed and shipped the waste plastic feedstock to Loop. The feedstock was also sent to an external laboratory by Kemitek for analysis and characterization.
- Once on site, the Kemitek team took possession of the feedstock, controlled and secured the entire process to ensure the chain of custody at all times via human supervision and numbered lockouts and seals on the equipment.
- Throughout the process, the Kemitek team took samples at key steps for subsequent analysis to confirm there was no tampering by Loop’s team.
- The final purified monomers were secured by Kemitek and sent for analysis to certified external laboratories (ISO 17025). These analyses confirm the purity of the resulting monomers.
The feedstock used throughout the verification consisted of pallets of post-consumer waste PET plastic. In appearance, it was a mix of clear, gray and colored flakes and fines with a PET content varying between 86% and 95%, as determined by a Loop-conducted analysis. Feedstock contaminants identified by external laboratories mandated by Kemitek include printed film, silicone elastomer and polystyrene.
The final report issued by Kemitek, which will be filed today as an exhibit to Loop’s Form 8-K, draws the below conclusions:
"The Kemitek team was able to understand, witness and verify the execution of Loop’s Gen II polyethylene terephthalate (PET) depolymerization technology from feedstock to monomers. While the verification was not intended to certify the yields or economic viability of the technology, as these were out of the scope of our mandate, our observations confirmed the production of significant quantities of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and monoethylene glycol (MEG) from a post-consumer waste PET feedstock at both mini-pilot and pilot scales.
Characterization of the finished products also confirmed that the quality of the primary PET plastic building blocks meet Loop’s specifications for the production of PET resin and polyester fiber, achieving DMT purity ranging from 99.7% to 100.1% (w/w) and MEG purity ranging from 98.2% to 98.9% (w/w). The useful monomer content for the MEG product is greater than 99.0% (w/w). This is calculated by adding the secondary PET plastic building blocks present in the final MEG product: Dimethyl isophthalate (DMI), Dimethyl Terephthalate (DMT), Diethylene Glycol (DEG), Bis-(2-Hydroxyethyl)terephthalate (BHET), 1-(2-hydroxyethyl)4-methylterephthalate (MHET) and 1-(2-hydroxyethyl)4-methylisophthalate (MHEI). It is reasonable to expect these molecules to be integrated into the final polymer chains of the PET resin and polyester fiber.
Kemitek’s findings through this verification allow us to attest to the capacity of Loop’s technology to produce pure monomers within their specifications. Kemitek conducted this verification in an independent manner using rigorous methodology and we ensured process integrity during the three-week testing period via surveillance, sampling and seals.”
With the levels of purity confirmed by Kemitek’s verification, Loop reiterates that its technology can produce monomers of sufficient purity to create PET plastic and polyester fiber that is 100% recycled and equivalent to virgin PET made from fossil fuels, consistent with previous polymerization trials and testing evaluations by clients and industrial companies.
“Loop Industries enlisted our services to conduct a scientific verification of its Gen II PET depolymerization technology from feedstock to monomers,” said Alain Tremblay, M.Sc., Scientific Director at Kemitek and lead of the verification project. “Our findings through this verification allow us to attest to the capacity of Loop’s technology to produce pure monomers within their specifications. Kemitek conducted this verification in an independent manner using rigorous methodology and we ensured process integrity during the three-week testing period via surveillance, sampling and seals.”
A seasoned and published polymer researcher, professor Jérôme Claverie, Ph.D., from Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada acted as external scientific expert by observing key parts of the verification and its findings. Dr. Claverie was not compensated in any way by Loop for his participation as an independent expert. As a leading, highly published researcher and the holder of the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Chemistry of Advanced Organic and Hybrid Materials, Dr. Claverie concurred with the conclusion put forward by Kemitek’s verification, saying: “After meeting with Loop’s team of researchers and engineers, reviewing all of their patents, and observing their technology at mini-pilot and pilot scales, I have absolutely no doubts that the patented PET recycling technology leads to high-purity monomers suitable for repolymerization into virgin-quality PET. Loop’s team did not reinvent the fundamental, well-established chemistry underlying depolymerization. However, they optimized a version of this process that provides the ability to effectively depolymerize waste PET plastic at a high purity at below 90-degree temperature, which sets their technology apart.”
Certifications and Accreditations
Loop has received from the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”) a confirmation of registration for its MEG on November 17, 2020, and for its DMT on December 7, 2020. The registration under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) Regulation (EC 1907/2006) confirms that Loop’s monomers are of a purity equal to what is currently recognized within Europe and entitles Loop to manufacture/import the monomers into Europe. It should be noted that MEG and DMT are on the positive list for plastic materials, which means that the two monomers can be used as food-contact materials.
In addition, as previously disclosed, Loop is in possession of a legal opinion confirming that its depolymerization technology meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) requirements to produce suitably pure MEG and DMT for use in food-grade packaging. The Company has filed for a No Objection Letter (“NOL”) from the FDA, which will validate the legal opinion obtained thus far.
It should be noted that the levels of monomer purity confirmed by Kemitek’s verification are in line with the data submitted for the REACH registration of Loop’s DMT and MEG monomers and the FDA NOL.
“The results of Kemitek’s verification reconfirm Loop’s belief that we are well positioned to have a transformative impact on the reduction of global plastic waste,” concluded Loop Founder and CEO Daniel Solomita. “I wish to sincerely thank the entire Loop team for their dedicated work and ongoing support for the Company, as we move forward with our plans to bring our technology to commercial scale.”
(1) A result 0.1% above 100% is consistent with the margin of error of the result.