Market & Research Review: New materials based on nanocellulose
Ole Martin Kristiansen | May 30, 2017
There are many exciting new innovations coming through in the field of nanocellulose and microfibrillated cellulose these days. In this week’s news on MFC, read about innovations ranging from artificial silk production to stand up pouches.
Stand-up pouches from nanocellulose and renewable raw materials
The researchers at VTT technical research centre in Finland has, through their patent pending process, been able to make 100% biobased stand-up bags out of nanocellulose. They call the technology the “HefCel technology” and claim to have reached many important properties that will allow to substitute current plastic products. They state that the “HefCel technology” shows excellent performance in barrier properties against oxygen, grease and mineral oil. The online journal phys.org quotes, Jari Vartiainen, a senior scientist at VTT:"One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Packaging with efficient barrier properties is a crucial factor in the reduction of the food loss. Our solution offers an environmentally friendly option for the global packaging industry".
This is very much in line with the current “war on oceanic plastics” declared by the UN. Oceanic plastics has become a major environmental issue during the years. One part of the solution can be biobased and rapidly biodegradable packaging which gives sufficient protection to the food.
The nanocellulose produced for this packaging has a 15%-25% dry solids consistency, and according to phys.org, the stand-up pouch is the fastest growing packaging type on the market. It will be very interesting to see if nanocellulose and microfibrillated cellulose can be a valid alternative to plastic based versions going forward.
Artificial silk made from silk proteins paired with nanocellulose
At the KTH Royal University in Stockholm (KTH), scientists have now been able to bring together the structural and strengthening performance from MFC and nanofibrils with the ones of spider silk. This has resulted in a product which KTH claims to be significantly better than that of any other man-made, silk based material. One of the researchers at the Wallenberg Wood Science Center at KTH, Daniel Söderberg, believes that it will have functionalities in line with the ones found in nature from spiders. Söderberg is also cited that he believes this material can even be a building block for ligaments. They have found a favourable interaction between the spider silk proteins and the MFC/nanofibrillated cellulose which gives the opportunity for producing this product.
The Wallenberg Wood Science Center is conducting a lot of interesting work on the microfibrillated cellulose these days, and it will be interesting to follow if some of these initiatives turns into commercially available ideas.
If you know any exciting news from the world of MFC and nanocellulose, feel free to share them in the comment field below! Our free eBook on characteristics and potential applications areas for MFC is hereby served you for further investigation and inspiration:
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.