Innovate UK helps chemtech firm scale-up game-changing solution


A chemtech company has scaled up the manufacturer of a game-changing smart material solution that eliminates cancer-causing ‘forever chemicals’ from water following funding from Innovate UK.

Puraffinity, based in London, has developed adsorbent granules that remove hazardous pollutants from water in various settings, including industrial manufacturing facilities.

This smart material targets PFAS (Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances), also known as ‘forever chemicals’, found in everyday products and responsible for contaminating the world’s food and drinking water supply and causing cancer.

Puraffinity has accelerated the design, testing and synthesising of its solution 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, the UK’s national innovation agency.

Now with a £1.54m Innovate UK Continuity Loan, Puraffinity can 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, which has become a part of the extended Puraffinity network.”

Launched in 2015 as a spin-out from Imperial College London, Hammersmith-based Puraffinity is delivering a sustainable solution to treating PFAS, a group of 4,700 manmade industrial chemicals linked to cancer and COVID-19 and widely regarded as the most severe global water quality challenge in modern times.

But the critical bottleneck for the business was gaining detailed 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 improve the data integrity of its quality assurance/quality control processes.

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 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.

A4I has been running since 2016 and brings together nine national centres of excellence in measurement, tackling challenges affecting existing processes, products or services.


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