Loop Industries Case Study

From Laboratory Garage to Global Success

In 2014, a small but spirited tech company invented a way to make top-quality PET plastic resin from waste PET plastic and polyester without making any more new plastic. Starting in an improvised lab located in a garage, the founders of Loop Industries broke down the polymers in waste PET plastic and polyester fiber into their basic ingredients, or monomers, using low energy. Through their revolutionary depolymerization technology, waste PET plastic and polyester fiber, including plastic bottles and packaging, carpets, and polyester textiles of any color, transparency, or condition, can now be up-cycled with low-energy input into high-purity PET plastic, suitable for use in food-grade packaging.

As a result of its patented technology, Loop Industries dramatically reduces environmental impact by diverting PET plastic and polyester fibers from oceans and landfills, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on harmful fossil fuels.

From its infancy, Loop Industries knew it had a winning concept. Growing that revolutionary technology into a business success would take partnering with a process simulation software provider that was equally insightful. In 2016, Loop reached out to Chemstations.

Addressing the Unique Challenges of a Start-Up

When Loop Industries was developing its pilot plant and looking at different chemical processes to revolutionize sustainable plastics, it faced several significant challenges. As a start-up, Loop needed to partner with a company that would be flexible to accommodate its budget, one that would be accessible throughout the process with expert technical support, and one that could scale process simulation software to meet Loop’s needs as it grew. After evaluating several different process simulation software companies, Loop chose Chemstations due to its modular customization, easy integration, flexible licensing, expert technical support, and affordability.

Creating a Fit-for-Purpose Partnership

By selecting CHEMCAD from Chemstations, Loop benefitted from a suite of six products that could be purchased individually or bundled as needed to accommodate their budget and processes. CHEMCAD is a scalable solution that supports multiple applications that extend from research and development to process design and operations. To help ensure that the first company simulations went smoothly and that the chemistry was viable, Loop received personalized support via access from multi-lingual support staff and high-level engineers who understand chemical engineers' challenges. The CHEMCAD customer portal also provided a robust knowledge base, and anytime access to a library of training videos.

The Start-Up Gets Off to a Great Start

In July of 2019, Loop used the operating settings based on the CHEMCAD CC-BATCH module simulation results to run the three different distillation stages of Methanol Recovery, Water Removal, and MEG Purification. Based on the successful pilot results, Loop created initial documentation around its technology that confirmed its viability to the market. In addition, because Loop had a CC STEADY-STATE license, their users could try the specific additional functionalities such as CC-BATCH and CC-THERM to see if the capabilities met their needs before making a purchase.  

With the software simulation and proactive technical support provided by Chemstations, Loop was off to a great start. "We are very satisfied with the results gained using CHEMCAD. They were critical in the support of our pilot plant operation, research team development project and the current Spartanburg Industrial Project in South Carolina," said Pedro Marcano, Senior Process Engineer, Loop Industries. “Without a doubt, it’s our distinct pleasure to recommend CHEMCAD to other chemical and industrial companies that are looking for process simulation software that drives productivity and results.”

While Loop Industries started with one product, CHEMCAD STEADY-STATE, to simulate processes from lab scale to full scale, the company ultimately used the full CHEMCAD suite of products to tackle their toughest process models.