Recycling technology company Samsara Eco has announced completion of a $54 million Series A round, ahead of plans to begin volume production next year.
The Australian National University spinout officially launched in September 2021, and is commercialising an “enzymatic depolymerisation” approach to recycling. This uses engineered enzymes to break plastics into monomers which can be made into plastic products again, which can then be broken down again with enzymes, which Samsara calls “infinite recycling”.
Return investors in the round included Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s venture capital arm W23, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Innovation Fund, managed by Virescent Ventures. New investors include Temasek, Breakthrough Victoria, and INP Capital.
Samsara has also been supported through a $568,491 grant under the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre Commercialisation Fund, announced in October last year, for its pilot plant.
“Plastic is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and provides enormous utility because of its durability, flexibility and strength. Yet, plastic is an environmental disaster, with almost every piece of the 9 billion tonnes ever made still on the planet,” said founder and CEO Paul Riley in a statement.
“Unlike other alternative recycling practices, our process is economical, with a low carbon footprint and allows for the effective recycling of challenging plastics including coloured, multi-layered or mixed plastics and textiles.”
(An interview with Riley last October in @AuManufacturing, describing the invention and the global trend of enzymatic plastic recycling, can be viewed here.)
Samsara was founded as a partnership between Main Sequence and the Australian National University.
The raise will fund an expansion of Samsara’s engineering team, growth of its library of plastic-digesting enzymes, and the company’s first commercial facility, with a planned opening in 2024 and capacity of 20,000 tonnes per annum.
Last year Woolworths announced a commitment to purchase the first 5,000 tonnes of Samsara’s product, to be used in packaging such as tomato containers.