Country of origin

  • 2014

    Creation date

  • 5


On our beaches, in landfill facilities or buried underground, the amount of plastic waste is increasing all the time. Why? Because collecting, sorting and recycling it is not always possible. So how can this worldwide tide of waste be recovered for recycling?

The Earthwake team had the extraordinary idea of using it to make fuel. Their Chrysalis machine uses the pyrolysis process of flameless combustion at very high temperatures to melt and dissolve plastic molecules. After distillation, they are recovered as petrol, diesel or gas. Low-tech, mobile and self-sufficient, Chrysalis uses the gas it produces to power itself.

The Earthwake solution has strong social and societal values, which convinced a large audience during a month-long voting campaign. The project was thus awarded the Audience Award of the 2020 EDF Pulse start-up Awards.

Category: Sustainable Lifestyle

The team

The Earthwake adventure is led by Samuel Le Bihan, its founding president and humanitarian screen and stage actor. François Danel, the former Director of Action contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), and Christofer Costes, the inventor of Chrysalis, complete the trio. Their start-up is also supported by a network of foundations and non-profit organisations.

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4 questions to Earthwake


The non-profit organisation was set up by Samuel Le Bihan. As a globetrotter and active member of Action contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), he has seen the growing level of plastic pollution - especially in emerging countries - with his own eyes. The things he has seen persuaded Samuel that he should take practical action to recycle inert plastic waste using a chemical recycling process.


Three months ago, we launched our first operational pilot plant. Our laboratory at Puget-Théniers in the South of France now recycles household, industrial and agricultural plastic waste into diesel fuel. That fuel is then used to power the local authority’s waste collection trucks to create a consistent circular economy model: the trucks bring us the plastic and leave with a full tank of fuel!


It would have to be our presentation of the pilot project when we decided to dress as pump attendants: we all turned up in Earthwake overalls, which I don’t think anyone was expecting!


Ours is a mobile, energy self-sufficient machine that turns plastic waste into a source of energy. There’s nothing else like it in the world today.

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