Hemp Fiber Printed Circuit Boards?

An Innovative Initiative to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Printed Circuit Boards

A British university and an innovator of sustainable solutions for e-waste processing have collaborated to further develop a natural fiber-based circuit board.

Hemp-Based PCBs to Reduce the Carbon Footprint

According to Jiva Materials, printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing typically makes up the largest portion of the total carbon footprint of an assembled electronic product. This Hampshire-based company has developed what it claims is the world's first fully recyclable rigid PVC laminate – Soluboard.

This alternative is made by impregnating natural fibers with a water-soluble, halogen-free flame retardant, also making the recovery of electronic components containing valuable materials more environmentally friendly.

Although soluble in water, Soluboard only breaks down when immersed in hot water for an extended period of time. Jiva claims it is fully compatible with existing processes such as acid/alkaline etching, electroplating, drilling, routing and curing, and Soluboard-based PCBs are assembled using low-temperature solder. temperature.

In 2019, Jiva Materials and its then partner won the JEC Asia Innovation Award in the Electrical, Electronics and Home Appliances category for the development of flax-based Soluboard composites.

As part of ongoing research and development, the company refines its products and explores other potential materials, including hemp. Recently, Jiva and the University of Portsmouth were awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) by Innovate UK to further develop and commercialize the Soluboard.

Jiva will work with researchers from the University's School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, who will test other natural fibers such as jute and hemp as potential laminate materials.

“This partnership is part of our vision to reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices. Jiva is at the forefront of creating materials that are both durable and functional,” said the company’s CEO, Dr. Jonathan Swanston. “The University’s expertise in developing natural fiber laminates makes it the perfect partner for Jiva.”

Professor Hom Dhakal, from the University of Portsmouth and academic lead on the project, says this partnership will significantly contribute to providing more sustainable materials and increasing 'circularity' in the sector.

“This KTP project collaboration with Jiva Materials aligns perfectly with a mutually prioritized goal of working together to achieve a sustainability agenda,” he said.

The Carbon Footprint Challenge in PCB Manufacturing

The manufacturing of printed circuit boards (PCBs) often constitutes the largest part of the carbon footprint of assembled electronic products. Jiva Materials, based in Hampshire, has taken the initiative to address this challenge by developing what is billed as Soluboard, the world's first fully recyclable rigid PVC laminate.

Soluboard: An Ecological Alternative

Soluboard stands out for its innovative manufacturing process, involving the impregnation of natural fibers with a water-soluble, halogen-free flame retardant. This approach not only reduces the use of unsustainable materials, but it also facilitates the recovery of electronic components, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach.

Hemp-Based PCBs: The Future of Sustainable Technology

As part of their ongoing research, Jiva Materials and the University of Portsmouth have broadened their horizons by exploring the use of hemp as a potential material. The environmental benefits of hemp, with its rapid growth and minimal impact on the ecosystem, could pave the way for significant advancements in the field of sustainable PCBs.

The Positive Impact on Electronic Sustainability

This partnership between Jiva Materials and the University of Portsmouth, supported by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate UK, promises to advance sustainable materials in the electronics sector. By working together, the two entities aim to offer more sustainable solutions and increase circularity in the electronics sector.

In conclusion, this initiative demonstrates how innovation and collaboration can play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the electronics industry, paving the way for an era of more planet-friendly technology.

Tags : Applications and Innovations
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