Cellulose Nanocrystal and Nanotechnology Research

Cellulose Nanocrystal and Nanotechnology Research

Over 230 delegates from 25 countries gathered in Vancouver, BC, at the beginning of July for TAPPI’s 9th International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Nanomaterials. “This year’s conference was exceptional,” noted co-chair Wadood Hamad, Priniciple Scientist, FPInnovations to Nano Werk July 8. “The keynote and technical presentations were of very high quality. The advancements made in many applications show great promise, and we will see expanded commercial use of these renewable biomaterials.”
“This year’s conference had an excellent balance of presentations on fundamental topics and applications,” commented co-chair Orlando J. Rojas, Professor at North Carolina State & Aalto University. “Expert scientists from around the globe shared new insights and remarkable, high quality work.”

Several key commercial announcements were made at this year’s conference, highlighting the tangible growth in this emerging market area of renewable biopolymers, said Nano Werk:
Celluforce, which opened their commercial plant in January 2012, shared six advanced commercial projects.
Imerys announced the launch of their new FiberLean™ MFC innovative composite, which enables a 10-15 per cent reduction in fibre usage for papermaking applications.
Representatives from the newly formed BioFilaments shared information on their unique high performance biomaterial derived from wood cellulose to be used as reinforcing agents and rheological modifiers.
Blue Goose Biorefineries presented their patent-pending process for producing cellulose nanocrystals from wood pulp.
Nippon Paper Industries introduced Cellenpia, their cellulose nanofibers produced from their pre-commercial plant.
GL&V presented their commercial system, developed with the Univeristy of Maine, to produce cellulose nanofibrils at a very low energy cost.
American Process Inc. presented their latest results of producing lignin-coated nanocellulose particles using their AVAP® technology which produces a material that is more easily dispersed and has enhanced properties.

Georgia Tech

Leading the research in America is Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, together with the US Forest Service. USFS research engineer and Georgia Tech professor Robert Moon and his team published a paper in April titled “Cellulose Nanomaterials: Plant‐based Nanoparticles Growing a Sustainable Future”.

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In his abstract, Moon points out that cellulose based materials (wood, cotton, etc.) have been used by our society as engineering materials for thousands of years and their use continues today as verified by the enormity of the world wide industries in forest products, paper, textiles, packaging, etc. Today, this new family of particles has a unique combination of characteristics: high mechanical properties, low coefficient of thermal expansion, high aspect ratio, and low density.
“A new family of cellulose based particles (Cellulose Nanomaterials) with new functionality and performance are being developed to further expand the use of renewable materials in the ever widening consumer products base,” explains the report abstract.
“Research in Cellulose Nanomaterials has grown rapidly in the last few years in an ever growing application space, including but not limited to: reinforcing fillers for polymers, cements. fibres, transparent films, flexible transparent displays, biomedical implants, drug delivery, barrier films, separation membranes, batteries, supercapacitors, sensors, etc.”
The full report is available here https://smartech.gatech.edu/handle/1853/53312

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