July 4, 2022

This company turns plastic waste into fuel and won an award from the ministry

Samuel Le Bihan, Cristopher Costes and François Danel have created a startup that turns plastic waste into fuel. (© Earthwake)

On December 6, 2021, they were at Paris to receive the “Gustave Eiffel” prize during the “French Tech Rise” organized by the Ministry of the Economy. It is Cédric O, Secretary of State in charge of the digital transition who rewarded four French startups including two maralpines, Livmed’s and Earthwake.

“The representatives of the Paca Region were very proud to have two laureates” says Francois Danel, CEO of Earthwake, laughing.

Awareness and good encounters

Since a year, his company turns plastic waste into fuel using clean technology, “this award gives us additional visibility to enter our fundraising phase,” he says.

The story begins with an encounter. The one between the actor Samuel le Bihan and Francois Danel then director of Action Against Hunger. Within the association, they are struck by the damage caused by plastic waste in the countries to which they provide food aid. “Plastic even clogs the pipes and thus promotes diseases such as malaria. In addition, it is an aesthetic damage for countries which try to develop tourism. “

They think it would be nice to find a way to give value to all this waste, so that they do not end up there but are collected, “to also avoid the 13 million tonnes of plastic waste found in the ocean. ”

They are then interested in the pyrolysis and chemical recycling. This is where they meet an inventor from the Alpes-Maritimes, Christopher Costes who is working on it. “He was working on a machine to transform plastic waste into fuel,” says François Danel. They go to his home, to La-Croix-sur-Roudoule, small village above Puget-Théniers. This meeting took place in 2015, Christopher Costes became an employee of the team.

Several years of development

“We started working with engineering schools and firms specializing in petroleum,” continues François Danel, “we had good support from the city of Puget-Théniers and the Department who believed in our history and we have helped a lot with financial and material resources. ”

Several prototypes were made until a version 4 presented to the President of the Department Charles-Ange Ginésy in July 2020. “He was shown a working machine whose synthetic fuel drives a whole fleet of dump trucks from the Alpes d’Azur community of municipalities. “

40 kg of plastic waste can thus be treated every day, but the objective is to speed up production. An industrial site has been created in the Vaucluse, near Orange: “we would like to become the leader in the sale of this mobile pyrolysis technology, it is 100% French manufacture. “

A production unit is being built in Vaucluse.
A production unit is being built in Vaucluse. (© Earthwake)

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Use it everywhere

Another advantage of their technology, it provides its own electricity necessary for its operation, which makes it possible to envisage it in isolated areas, “this is our big difference from what already existed. ”

In parallel with the company, they have indeed created an association to get back to the essence of the project and consider sending their machines to areas in particular need.

Today Earthwake possesses five employees and service providers, they have the research and development area in Puget Théniers, industry in Vaucluse, the head office in Nice and offices in Paris, to be in contact with investment funds.

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