New biodegradable circuit board aims to reduce the environmental footprint

Infineon Technologies' innovative solution is made from natural fibers with a much lower carbon footprint than traditional glass-based fibers.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The biodegradable cirucit board.jpg
The biodegradable circuit board.


Infineon Technologies is working toward an environmentally friendly future by introducing Soluboard®, a recyclable and biodegradable printed circuit board (PCB) substrate based on natural fibers and a halogen-free polymer. The product was conceived and designed by UK start-up Jiva Materials. Its main goal is to help reduce the carbon footprint of the electronics industry.

This is according to a press release by the firms published on Friday.

Made from natural fibers

The innovative solution is made from natural fibers which have a much lower carbon footprint than traditional glass-based fibers. The organic structure is further enclosed in a non-toxic polymer that dissolves when immersed in hot water, leaving only compostable organic material and allowing the electronic components soldered to the board to be recovered and recycled. 

“For the first time, a recyclable, biodegradable PCB material is being used in the design of electronics for consumer and industrial applications – a milestone towards a greener future,” said Andreas Kopp, head of product management discretes at Infineon’s Green Industrial Power Division.

“We are also actively researching the reusability of discrete power devices at the end of their service life, which would be an additional significant step towards promoting a circular economy in the electronics industry.”

Water-based recycling

“Adopting a water-based recycling process could lead to higher yields in the recovery of valuable metals,” said Jonathan Swanston, CEO and co-founder of Jiva Materials. “In addition, replacing FR-4 PCB materials with Soluboard would result in a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions – more specifically, 10.5 kg of carbon and 620 g of plastic can be saved per square meter of PCB.”

The new material is currently serving to reduce the carbon footprint of demo and evaluation boards. However, Infineon is also exploring the possibility of using it for all boards to make the electronics industry greener. The firm has ambitious goals to follow the European Commission's “Green Deal” agenda, which aims to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The company has also introduced responsible collection and recycling of electronic products in accordance with the EU Directive on Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

Currently, Infineon boasts three different demo boards using Soluboard technology and plans to offer many more over the next few years. More than 500 units are already in use and based on the results of ongoing stress tests, the company plans to provide guidance on the reuse and recycling of power semiconductors removed from Soluboards, which could significantly extend the lifetime of the electronic components.

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