The Promise of Wood-Based Nanotechnology

The concept of nanotechnology can be a tough one to grasp, and making a connection between wood-based nanomaterials and forest restoration might seem like a stretch.

nanofibrils

Close-up of cellulose nanofibrils.

But a recent article in The Consultant, an annual magazine published by the Association of Consulting Foresters, provides a clear and comprehensive look at the science that is often deemed the way of the future and how it relates to forestry.

In short, “finding new, high-value, market-based outlets for excess forest biomass is vital to forest restoration.” Cellulose nanomaterials, with unique and desirable properties applicable across many industries, have the potential to provide solutions to costly forest restoration issues.

Forest Products Laboratory Director Michael T. Rains, Assistant Director Theodore Wegner, and Supervisory Research Chemist Alan Rudie co-authored the article. Topics covered include an explanation of wood-based nanomaterials and their properties, the scope of necessary forest restoration and the related costs, applications for nanocellulose, and how FPL and the Forest Service are working to move this promising technology forward.