Government announces biotechnology funding

Recycling metals from scrap computers and mobile phones, and a seaweed-based metal coating are among six projects in the UK to share nearly £1million in government funding.

Recycling metals from scrap computers and mobile phones, and a seaweed-based metal coating are among six projects to share nearly £1m in government funding, Science and Innovation Minister, Lord Sainsbury announced today.

The projects are part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s BIO-WISE Programme, which encourages UK manufacturing and service companies to realise the economic and environmental benefits of biotechnology.

Among the recipients are C-Tech Innovation and All finished 4U Ltd who are developing methods of recovering metals from electronic circuit boards and creating an improved pre-wash coating for metal components respectively.

C-Tech Innovation has developed a cost-effective way of dissolving metals from circuit boards, removing first the solder, then the copper, and finally the precious metals. This kind of technology will particularly beneficial in two years time when a new EC Directive comes into force which makes producers of electrical and electronic equipment responsible for recycling their products.

C-Tech Innovation has been awarded £111,000 to test their technology on an industrial scale in a 15-month project.

An improved pre-wash coating for metal components – current industrial pre- wash coatings, used to prevent corrosion and increase paint adhesion, are made from chemicals that can be toxic. All finished 4U Ltd, Coventry has developed an environmentally friendly version derived from seaweed.

They have been awarded £150,000 over two years to develop industrial scale production of this new bio-coating, which has potential use in many industries, particularly the car and aerospace industries.

‘The BIO-WISE programme is a great opportunity for UK biotech companies to test their exciting new discoveries and prototype products in large-scale industrial environments,’ said Lord Sainsbury. ‘These innovative projects highlight the potential benefits that biotechnology has to offer, both in terms of improvements to industry and the environment.’