Product Overview

Soluboard® combines natural flax fibres with a halogen-free polymer.

Jiva is collaborating with European manufacturers to commercialise Soluboard® and we have secured long-term access to a continued raw material supply.

Jiva has tested the Soluboard® manufactured to date to prove that it is flame retardant to the same extent as other market leading PCB substrates. Jiva has successfully produced a fully-functioning Soluboard® PCB demonstrator based on an additive method of circuitry application.

Jiva is working with potential customers to produce advanced prototypes by replicating their technology using Soluboard® as the PCB substrate. The approval process for new PCB materials is time consuming and subject to intense quality control driven by industry wide standards.

Jiva will be licensing the manufacture of Soluboard®. These licenses will be influenced by geography and be based on the intended industry application sector.

50 million tonnes of electronic waste are produced globally every year.
(source: WEF)

Only 20% of European e-waste is properly tracked for collection and recycling.
(source: WEF)

Replacing FR-4 with Soluboard® would result in a carbon footprint reduction of 60%
(source: ERM)

620g of plastic is saved per square metre of Soluboard® compared to FR-4
(source: ERM)

The impact

Only 15.5% of e-waste is being handled correctly via national programs and schemes. (source: UNU)

Soluboard® is created using flax fibres combined with a number of other biodegradable ingredients that once immersed in warm water, will cause the layers of the composite material to delaminate. This allows the flax to be composted, the remaining solution to be disposed of using standard domestic waste water systems and the electronic components to be removed for re-processing.

Through the integration of Soluboard® into the PCB industry, a key contributor to the problem that WEEE creates will no longer have to be seen as single-use, permanent housings for the components which they hold. Dissolving a circuit board made from Soluboard® allows for 90% of its components to be reclaimed and then either repurposed or recycled.

The complexity of electronic products makes the recycling process extremely expensive, meaning that they are very often incinerated. For example, over 40% of London waste is currently burned, (source: DEFRA) releasing toxins as well as high concentrations of greenhouse gases, both of which are highly hazardous to health and the environment.

By avoiding the need to incinerate the material, carbon emissions will be greatly reduced and the recycling industry would see higher yields of precious metal recovery if Soluboard® became widely adopted. Recycled metals can see up to a 95% smaller carbon footprint in comparison to newly processed raw materials.

Negating the need to incinerate material is accompanied by a significant reduction in carbon that is released into the atmosphere. The carbon footprint of one square metre of Soluboard® PCB is estimated to be 7.1kg and the carbon footprint of one square metre of standard FR-4 PCB is estimated to be 17.7kg. This equates to a carbon footprint reduction of 60% overall. There is also a significant plastic saving of 620g per square metre of Soluboard® compared to FR-4.

The use of natural fibres and the polymer they are impregnated with contribute significantly to the reduction in the carbon footprint of the PCB compared with the epoxy and glass fibre used in FR-4.

The main driver of the carbon and plastic savings is the density of Soluboard®. The density of 1.35g per cubic centimetre of Soluboard® compared to 2g per cubic centimetre of FR-4 leads to a difference in mass of almost 1kg per square metre. This difference in mass greatly reduces the carbon and plastic impacts of Soluboard® compared to the lifecycle of an FR-4 PCB.

Soluboard® is protected by an international PCT application (Publication No. WO2018/234801). The PCT has been filed in Europe, the US, Japan, India, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan. These territories were selected in line with the global leading territories for PCB manufacture. The invention relates to a composite structure, the method of making it and the use of the composite structure as a substrate for a PCB.

Jiva is continuously investigating new intellectual property that can be protected; further IP has been identified to effectively commercialise the substrate and enable efficient recycling. The development of the Soluboard® PCB recycling process will also present new opportunities for IP that Jiva will later license out.