Pentaform Wins £0.5m Innovate UK Grant for Sustainable Electronics Push

Pentaform blog
2 min readMar 25, 2024

London (March 25, 2024) — On the heels of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s visit, Pentaform announced today that it has been awarded a £500,000 grant from Innovate UK to develop revolutionary water-soluble electronics that could help decentralize waste processing.

The funding will enable Pentaform’s material science team, in collaboration with researchers from Imperial College London, to advance their research into polymers that can dissolve in water at the end of an electronic device’s lifecycle. This alternative to traditional e-waste recycling aims to allow electronics to simply break down in a water solution after use.

“E-waste is a massive global challenge that will only escalate as electronics become more pervasive worldwide,” said Pentaform CEO Sarah Thompson. “Our water-soluble electronics can be a game-changer, minimizing the environmental impact of discarded devices while empowering more localized waste solutions.”

Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund provides crucial support for groundbreaking projects that can help drive the UK’s transition to clean growth.

Pentaform plans to tie their sustainable electronics initiative to their Abacus digital inclusion program. Abacus centers nationwide could potentially serve as community e-waste dissolved sites in the future.

“Not only can we make electronics more environmentally friendly, but we can democratize the waste processing itself through our Abacus network,” explained Thompson. “Local communities could dissolve their e-waste on-site and have materials ready for remolding into new devices.”

Such decentralized manufacturing aligns with Pentaform’s mission to open access to technology by distributing tools for digital skills and job creation within communities.

During his recent visit, Prime Minister Sunak lauded Abacus as an innovative model for preparing the UK workforce for the digital economy while promoting social mobility.

The new grant demonstrates Pentaform’s dual commitment to cutting-edge research and bold initiatives to democratize technology for the public good.

Dr. Enrico Manfredi-Haylock, who leads Pentaform’s sustainable polymers group, says the funding will accelerate their efforts: “We’ve already made promising advances with our water-soluble prototypes in the lab. Now we can explore large-scale production, ensuring our sustainable electronics are affordable, durable and safe for widespread use.”

Pentaform aims to have its first line of consumer water-soluble electronics devices ready for pilot manufacturing within three years. Ultimately, the company envisions a future where discarded phones, laptops and other gadgets can be effortlessly dissolved at local facilities, with materials recycled to make new tech on-demand for communities.

As both a rising tech innovator and catalyst for digital equity, Pentaform is pioneering new models for how advanced technologies can empower society while respecting the environment.

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