Samsara Eco, an Australian startup that uses enzyme-based technology to break down plastic into its core molecules, announced today that it has raised $54 million AUD (about $34.7 million USD) in Series A funding. The company plans to build its first plastics recycling facility in Melbourne later this year, with a goal of full-scale production by 2023.
Investors in the round include Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC and INP Capital. Existing investors such as deep-tech fund Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s W23 and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) also participated.
Samsara was launched last year in partnership with the Australian National University. australiabusinessblog.com last reported on the startup when it raised $6 million earlier this year.
The company’s enzyme-based technology breaks down plastics into their molecular building blocks to produce new plastic products — which in turn can be broken down, creating what Samsara calls infinite plastic recycling.
Samsara’s new funding will be used to expand, build its library of plastic-eating enzymes and fund its first commercial facility, which it says will be able to recycle 20,000 tons of plastic indefinitely by 2024. It will also expand its engineering team and expand operations in Europe and North America.
CEO and founder Paul Riley said that since March, when Samsara’s previous funding round was announced, it has focused on expanding its enzyme library, which is now capable of depolymerizing various types of plastic. It also worked with partners to develop market solutions using Samsara’s plastic recycling technology.
Samsara’s technology is capable of breaking down plastic into its core molecules in minutes, regardless of color, type and condition, Riley said. The Melbourne plant will first recycle PET plastic and polyester, which Riley says accounts for about one-fifth of the plastic produced annually. The long-term mission is to recycle mixed-bale plastic bales and take the technology to the point where any kind of plastic can be recycled infinitely.
“Given the magnitude of the plastic crisis, our vision has always been to scale up infinite plastic recycling as quickly as possible,” he said. “For us, this capital raise was about working with those who bring industry expertise and commitment to tackle one of the world’s most prominent climate challenges – namely fossil-made plastic – while reducing plastic pollution by closing the loop. .”
Samsara is also preparing to launch its first enzymatically recycled packaging, in partnership with Woolworths Group. The packaging will hit Woolworths supermarket shelves next year, helping the company reach its goal of recycling 1.5 million tons of plastic per year by 2030. Woolworths Group has committed to converting the first 5,000 tons of recycled Samsara plastic into packaging for its branded products, such as vegetables and baking trays.
Riley said Samsara’s technology is highly resistant to pollution and can recycle colored plastics, mixed plastics and multilayer plastics, meaning it has applications in a wide variety of industries, including packaging, fashion, automation, medical, electronics and construction. .
The fashion industry is good for about 10% of global CO2 emissions. Australia is the world’s second largest consumer of textiles per person, Riley said, giving Samsara the ability to recycle discarded fast fashion items in the form of mixed fiber textiles, reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills. reduced.
“As we expand our library of plastic-eating enzymes, the potential for infinite plastic recycling in all of these industries will continue to grow, meaning we’ll never have to produce plastic from fossil fuels again,” Riley said.