Wood-based Nanotechnology: High-Value Markets from Low-Value Wood


FPL research chemist Alan Rudie, left, discussing nanocellulose with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in the FPL Nanocellulose Pilot Plant.
Photo: Steve Schmieding.

The potential of cellulosic nanomaterials is huge. The development of nanocellulose technologies and supply streams can help renew forest-dependent rural economies, reduce the intensity of future wildfires, and create sustainable components for common consumer products.

A new brochure, Wood Nanotechnology: High-Value Markets from Low-Value Wood, takes much of the mystery out of nanocellulose and its many potential applications.

Cellulose and lignin are the two most abundant natural polymers in the world. Nanoscale cellulose fibers offer unique advantages over other organic and inorganic nanomaterials. Their extremely high surface-to-volume ratio enables remarkable mechanical and chemical properties (including an elastic modulus greater than that of Kevlar®). Low-value materials thinned from overgrown forests can also be converted into products such as biocompositesengineered wood productsbioenergy feedstocks.