Innovate UK funding for solution to tackle PFAS

Henrik Hagemann is chief executive officer of Puraffinity.

London-based chemical technology firm Puraffinity has developed an innovative approach to eliminating PFAS from water supplies, with funding from Innovate UK.

Its solution is a smart material which it says removes these pollutants from water in a range of settings including environmental remediation, point-of-use systems, industrial manufacturing facilities, and commercial airports and air bases.

It uses adsorbent granules which target PFAS (Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances), also known as ‘forever chemicals’.

Puraffinity says the design, test and synthesis of its solution has accelerated after working with the National Measurement Laboratory (NML), the UK’s designated institute for chemical and bio-measurement.

The project was supported by Analysis for Innovators (A4I), a grant funding programme which gives businesses access to cutting-edge R&D and expertise. A4I is run by Innovate UK, is the UK’s national innovation agency.

Puraffinity has since secured a £1.54m Innovate UK Continuity Loan to boost its UK manufacturing capability 20-fold to five tonnes per year.

Commenting on Puraffinity’s experience of the A4I programme, Henrik Hagemann, Chief Executive Officer, said: “Innovate UK’s A4I programme has transformed our business.

“Funded access to cutting-edge R&D and expertise has accelerated our capacity to use cutting-edge materials science and creative engineering to benefit human health and the environment.

“We’re thrilled about our growth prospects and the opportunity to develop into an emerging materials science leader with UK-based manufacturing.

“We’re also looking to continue working with the team at the National Measurement Laboratory who have become a part of the extended Puraffinity network.”

The critical bottleneck for the business was seemingly gaining insight and assurance on the product’s stability and safety. It also saw a growth opportunity to take a more data-driven approach to its development work where it had already carried out proof-of-concept work to embed data-driven analytics into its design, build, test and learn cycles.

After securing funding from A4I, Puraffinity partnered with the NML where it used critical equipment and deep sector expertise to speed up its development cycle and improved the data integrity of its quality assurance/quality control processes.

According to the firm, the methods developed significantly de-risked the product development process, reduced discovery-design-synthesis cycles, facilitated more precise production scale-up, mitigated batch variations and increased yields.

Puraffinity says it can now provide prospective clients assurance of the safety and the long-term stability of the products, a crucial element in commercialising public health innovations through water treatment.