Loop Holdings Inc. focuses on depolymerizing waste plastics and converting them into valuable chemicals, ready to be reintroduced into the manufacturing of virgin plastics. Our proprietary technology breaks down polyethylene yerephthalate ("PET") into its base chemicals, purified terephthalic acid ("PTA") and ethylene glycol ("EG"), at a recovery rate of 100%.
Loop Holdings' technology uses waste PET plastics such as water bottles, soda bottles, consumer packaging, carpets and industrial waste as feedstock to process. These feedstock are readily available through municipal triage centers, industrial recycling and landfill reclamation projects.
Purified terephthalic acid is a high-value chemical currently selling at approximately $1,000 per metric ton, used mainly in the production of PET plastic and polyester fiber. The resulting product appears as a crystalline substance, which is then filtered, purified, dried and stored. We believe that the demand for terephthalic acid is expected to hit an all-time high of 60 million metric tons (132 billion pounds) in 2015 and 72 million metric tons (158.4 billion pounds) by 2020.
Ethylene glycol ("EG") is an organic compound primarily used as a raw material in the manufacture of polyester fibers and PET used in bottling. A small percentage is also used in industrial applications like antifreeze formulations and other industrial products. It is an odorless, colorless, syrupy, sweet-tasting liquid. Current selling price of EG is approximately $1,050 per metric ton. The global market volume for ethylene glycols was 16.5 million metric tons (36 billion pounds) in 2013 and is expected to reach 22.8 million metric tons (45 billion pounds) by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.7% from 2014 to 2020.
PET plastic is our source of feedstock. PET is a polyester showing excellent tensile and impact strength, chemical resistance, clarity, process ability and reasonable thermal stability. Although its main application by far is in the textile industry, tremendous quantities of this material are consumed in the manufacturing of soft-drink and water bottles, as well as in food packaging.
PET does not create a direct hazard to the environment, but due to its substantial fraction volume in the plastic waste stream and its high resistance to atmospheric and biological agents, it could be considered as a noxious material. PET accounts for 8% by weight and 12% by volume of the world's solid waste.
PET recycling represents one of the most successful and widespread examples of polymer recycling. The main driving force responsible for this extreme increase in recycling of post-consumer PET is its widespread use, particularly in the beverage and food industry.
PET bottles are characterized by high strength, low weight and permeability of gases (mainly CO 2), as well as by their aesthetic appearance (good light transmittance, smooth surface). They do not have any side effect on the human organism. Many attempts are currently directed toward recycling of PET waste, because of the interests in environmental protection, energy preservation and economic benefits.
Among the different recycling techniques (primary, mechanical, chemical and energy recovery), the acceptable one according to the principles of "sustainable development" is chemical recycling, since it leads to the formation of the raw materials from which the polymer is made, as well as of other secondary value-added products. Chemical recycling has been defined as the process leading to total Depolymerization of PET into monomers, or partial Depolymerization into oligomers and other chemical substances.
According to NAPCOR (National Association for PET Container Resources), in 2012 in the US:
The NAPCOR United Kingdom Statistics for 2011 PET Recycling include:
| ||·||PET bottles represented a total of 5.6 Billion lbs. of PET available to be recycled;|
| ||·||Only 1.72 Billion lbs. were collected; and|
| ||·||There was only a 30.8% PET bottle recycling rate.|
Among the various methods of PET recycling the most common is mechanical recycling, which refers to operations that aim to recover plastics waste via mechanical processes (grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating and compounding), thus producing recycled plastic that can be converted into new plastics products, often substituting for virgin plastics.
| ||·||6.7 Billion plastic bottles were recycled in 2011;|
| ||·||52% of household plastic bottles were recycled; and|
| ||·||Only 24% of plastic is recycled or recovered.|
The disadvantages to mechanical recycling of PET are that sorting is very labor intensive, and high energy costs are associated with the processing of material. Mechanical PET recycling is also limited to single stream PET with no contamination. Other challenges include quality degradation and color of the feedstock.
Depolymerization presents two unique advantages in recycling resin-based products: (i) the ability to return a recovered resin to virgin-resin-like quality, and (ii) the potential to recover a valuable feedstock from products that are economically challenging to recycle. When plastic is mechanically recycled, even small levels of contamination can compromise the performance of the resin. However, because Depolymerization breaks down plastics into monomer form, that contamination is removed.
We have developed a proprietary process that enables us to depolymerize PET into its purest form of purified terephthalic acid ("PTA") and ethylene glycol ("EG"), under normal atmospheric pressure and at room temperature. Our unique Depolymerization process can bring even degraded, colored or heavily contaminated PET that is not recyclable back to life in the form of its base monomers, terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. The resulting monomers (PTA & EG) will be sold to virgin PET manufacturers such as DuPont and Invista.
We have had our depolymerized PET tested in third-party laboratory settings. Samples of PTA and EG have been sent to the University of Montreal, Canada, where purity testing has been conducted using a process known as high performance liquid chromatography ("HPLC-MS"), which tests for the level of impurities on a parts-per-million basis in the samples of PET and EG. We have also sent samples of PTA and EG to Uhde Inventa-Fischer, a division of ThyssenKrupp, which uses a testing process known as inductive coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy ("ICP-MS"), which tests for the level of presence of heavy metals and the presence of coloring on a parts-per-million basis. We have had this testing conducted to determine whether the PTA and EG meet certain levels of purity to be able to be used for making PET resin, and we have concluded that the PTA and EG are of industrial grade purity, or suitable for use in commercial beverage bottles. We are currently building a prototype model of our depolymerization plant.
The demand for terephthalic acid is expected to hit an all-time high of 60 million metric tons (132 Billion Pounds) in 2015 and 72 million metric tons (158.4 billion pounds) by 2020.
The global market volume for ethylene glycols was 16.5 million metric tons (36 billion pounds) in 2013 and is expected to reach 22.8 million metric tons (45 billion pounds) by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 4.7% from 2014 to 2020.
Prospective Future growth
We believe that PET depolymerization expansion will drive near-term growth for Loop Holdings by opening strategically depolymerization plants close to large supplies of raw PET plastic. The largest cities in the world produce the most waste. By opening depolymerization plants close to municipal triage centers where plastic sorting and recycling occurs, Loop Holdings ensures a large supply of feed material to transform. Acquisitions in the plastic sorting sector are also possibilities to control the feedstock of raw material.
Medium-term growth will occur with the production of virgin PET resin manufactured using our feedstock of recycled PTA and glycol. We will attempt to be the first company with the ability to market virgin PET resin made from 100% recycled material.
Our long-term growth is tied to our ability to depolymerize other plastics, such as Nylon 6, Nylon 6/6, HIPS and PE We are also currently working on the depolymerization of nylon, which will enable us to economically recycle billions of pounds of nylon waste (mostly carpet waste) that is buried in landfills across the globe.
We rely on a combination of trademark laws, trade secrets, confidentiality provisions and other contractual provisions to protect our proprietary rights, which are primarily our brand names, product designs and marks. We do not own patents, though we expect to file patents related to our technology within the next 8 months.