Market & research review: nanocellulose and MFC is THE hot topic

Ole Martin Kristiansen | March 21, 2017

A lot of work on the MFC and nanocellulose is going on in an increased amount of business fields, all over the globe. We have seen a significant pick up in the strength and reinforcement functionalities of microfibrillated cellulose during the last 6-12 months, where its ability to provide significant strength improvements is clear. This week we have collected three new interesting areas of giving strength and barrier improvements, with exciting opportunities like bone construction with 3D printing, carbon fiber replacement, and water purification. This is your Exilva blog on exciting innovation, don’t miss out on our collection of news this week, and enjoy your reading!

Norwegian research aiming to create bone replacing composites made out of nanocellulose

The researchers at the Norwegian paper and fiber institute (PFI) has developed a new technology for conducting 3D printing of nanocellulose gels (NB! Original article in Norwegian). The researchers are aiming at developing bone replacements by using the nanocellulose in tissue engineering, for replacing human bone after severe trauma or inborn bone disease. Nanocellulose is used as a scaffold which enables the growth of new bone tissue. The researchers at PFI were using a 2% dry content and 98% water mix of nanocellulose and were still able to print a solid three-dimensional structure. The project for developing this technology started back in 2013 and has been one of the major focus of Senior Researcher Kristin Syverud and her team. The NORCEL project is one of the funded project on researching the field of nanocellulose as part of the Nano2021 research program from the Norwegian Research Council.

Interested in strength properties of MFC? Read our blog post on sustainable composites (PLA & MFC and its compatibility).

Japanese focus on nanocellulose substituting carbon fiber and enabling better flexible displays

In their new article, Nikkei is discussing the opportunity for nanocellulose to challenge the carbon fiber. Nikkei Asia Review is stating that competition is heating up among researchers to develop products using CNF (cellulose nanofibers)/MFC (microfibrillated cellulose). They also describe these products as strong and lightweight materials. Nikkei Asia Review discuss the opportunity coming from transparent, clear CNF/MFCs, for instance for use in flexible displays. The ability to deliver thickening effects are also an opportunity in cosmetics, paints and consumer products.

Want to know more on reinforcement and MFC/nanocellulose? Read our "Why Microfibrillated cellulose it a completely new cellulose product" blog post.

Method for purification of water by utilizing nanocellulose

According to this report from American Chemical Society, an Indian researcher, Deepu Gobakumar, has developed a state-of-the-art nanofibrious membrane from agro-waste sources (pineapple, banana etc.) for removing pollutants from water. He did his research at the International and Inter University Centre for Nano science and Nanotechnology (IIUCNN), MG University. The university will apply for a patent for the invention and is looking for business partners to make the filters commercially available. Clean water is for sure on the list of limited resources in several geographical areas of the world, and it will be very interesting to follow this further and see if this new invention can give new performance to purification of water.

We will be following these areas of microfibrillated cellulose and nanocellulose and many other novel areas, so stay tuned by following our next market and research reviews!

Did this stimulate your interest in water purification and nanocellulose/MFC? Don’t miss out on our blog post on the subject "What has MFC to do with water purification".

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Written by:

Ole Martin Kristiansen

Ole Martin is the Marketing Manager of Exilva in Borregaard. He holds a bachelor's degree in Media Management and has been with the company since 2017.