FPL’s Cutting-Edge Nano Work is Front-Page News

Chemical & Engineering News, published by the American Chemical Society, just ran a comprehensive cover story on nanocellulose titled Nano From the Forest. In the four-page feature, reporter Mitch Jacoby covers topics from fundamental research to commercialization efforts, and includes an excellent, short video of how nanocellulose is produced here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

Engineer Rick Reiner operates FPL's nanocellulose pilot plant.

Engineer Rick Reiner operates FPL’s nanocellulose pilot plant.

Many FPL projects were highlighted, including work on aerogels, flexible electronic screens, and solar cells, as were several fascinating projects by researchers around the world who are getting creative with this strong, lightweight, green material.

So read all about it! And enjoy!

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Inside the Lab: The Making of Nanocellulose

When people see a sample of nanocellulose, they can’t quite imagine how the clear gel in the vial is made from wood as we know it.

This excellent video from Chemical and Engineering News takes a look inside the Forest Products Laboratory’s nanocellulose pilot plant (one of only two in the United States) and gets viewers up close and personal with this super-material in the making.

Rethink Trees: Possibilities Abound with Nanocellulose

Nanotechnology research is front-and-center these days at the Forest Products Laboratory, and for good reason. The many potential uses for nanocellulose open up a world of possibilities not only for the forest products industry, but also for a wide range of manufacturing industries whose products can be improved by incorporating this renewable resource.

Yet for all the promise it offers, nanotechnology can be a tricky science to wrap one’s head around. This short video from TAPPI offers a simple explanation of what nanocellulose is, ways it can be used, and how it can make a difference in everyday life.

Take a peek. You just might rethink trees altogether.

Nanotechnology collaboration featured at USDA Outlook Forum

2014_Ag_OutlookOn February 20, USDA will host a nanotechnology session at its Agricultural Outlook Forum focusing on the implications of nano in agriculture and forestry. As featured in the USDA Blog, key speakers from government, industry, and academia will take part in the Nanotechnology in the Future of Agriculture and Forestry session.

In this session, Sean Ireland of Verso Paper Corporation will highlight Verso’s collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory.  Verso and other collaborators are working with FPL research scientists in the Nanocellulose Pilot Plant to develop nanomaterials derived from forestry products.

USDA is one of 26 Federal departments or agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, a federal research and development program originally proposed by President Clinton in 2000 and supported by Presidents Bush and Obama.

A “Nexus of Innovation” for the U.S. Forest Service

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FPL Director Michael Rains

In a recent feature story from xconomy.com, FPL Director Michael Rains describes the Forest Products Laboratory as “a one-of-a-kind resource at the intersection of many Forest Service goals.”

Rains, who is also director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, covers many crucial Forest Service R&D mission areas addressed by FPL research. Top among them for Rains includes getting “low value, crummy wood” out of dangerously overcrowded forests through accelerated restoration efforts to make “better use of woody biomass.”

The article, written by xconomy.com editor Bruce V. Bigelow (@bvbigelow on Twitter), also addresses new FPL developments in cellulose nanotechnology,  advanced composite materialsadvanced structures, using trees for bio-based fuels and chemicals, and public-private partnership projects through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.