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New round of research and innovation funding aimed at growing sustainable bioeconomy in Alberta
Projects focus on novel bioproducts and disruptive technologies that use Alberta biomass – 27 July 2016
EDMONTON – Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) has approved nearly $13 million in funding for 61 projects by researchers and companies. The grants are for the development of new industrial bioproducts or technologies using Alberta agriculture and forestry byproducts or other biomass.
The funding is provided under the Alberta Bio Future research and innovation program, the province’s flagship bioindustrial initiative. It is aimed at diversifying and strengthening the provincial economy by adding value to Alberta’s renewable resources.
In addition to working toward reducing our reliance on fossil fuel exports, there is another major benefit – bioproducts and bioindustrial technologies have the potential to partially or fully replace petroleumbased products and energy sources, thereby potentially lowering GHG emissions and reducing the carbon footprint.
“The economy of the next 30 years is going to be very different than the economy of the past 30 years, and Alberta’s innovators are leading the way in finding solutions to future challenges and capitalizing on future opportunities,” said Alberta Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous. “Using renewable materials in fascinating new ways, they are helping to diversify our economy and keep our province competitive.”
The approved projects span the research and innovation continuum from early applied research to commercialization. In addition to AI Bio funding, 25 projects also have industry funding.
“The projects were carefully chosen in a rigorous, competitive process, based on criteria designed to maximize public benefit and advance the bioindustrial sector in Alberta,” said Steve Price, CEO of AI Bio.
“Alberta is blessed with abundant biomass in our forests and crops, advanced infrastructure and universities, and highly qualified personnel in our academic community and bioindustrial sector. AI Bio works as a catalyst to bring these together to accelerate growth in an area with great potential.”
The researchers and companies carrying out the projects are using a variety of biomass types to
develop or produce advanced biomaterials, biofuels, biochemicals or biocomposites for a broad range of applications. Examples include biofuels for transport and bioproducts that can be used in the energy, construction, forestry or manufacturing sectors. A sampling of projects are provided in the backgrounder following this release. (Click here for press release.)
Numerous projects involve cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) for construction, manufacturing or medical applications. Alberta has one of only a number of facilities in the world capable of producing highquality CNC, a high-performing, advanced biomaterial derived from cellulose (a compound in plants).
The CNC research and innovation pilot plant is located at Alberta Innovates Technology Futures in Edmonton.
Engineers develop novel hybrid nanomaterials to transform water
Washington University in St. Louis 26 July 2016
Graphene oxide has been hailed as a veritable wonder material; when incorporated into nanocellulose foam, the lab-created substance is light, strong and flexible, conducting heat and electricity quickly and efficiently.
Now, a team of engineers at Washington University in St. Louis has found a way to use graphene oxide sheets to transform dirty water into drinking water, and it could be a global game-changer.
“We hope that for countries where there is ample sunlight, such as India, you’ll be able to take some dirty water, evaporate it using our material, and collect fresh water,” said Srikanth Singamaneni, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the School of Engineering & Applied Science.
The new approach combines bacteria-produced cellulose and graphene oxide to form a bi-layered biofoam. A paper detailing the research is available online in Advanced Materials.
“The process is extremely simple,” Singamaneni said. “The beauty is that the nanoscale cellulose fiber network produced by bacteria has excellent ability move the water from the bulk to the evaporative surface while minimizing the heat coming down, and the entire thing is produced in one shot.
“The design of the material is novel here,” Singamaneni said. “You have a bi-layered structure with light-absorbing graphene oxide filled nanocellulose at the top and pristine nanocellulose at the bottom. When you suspend this entire thing on water, the water is actually able to reach the top surface where evaporation happens.
“Light radiates on top of it, and it converts into heat because of the graphene oxide — but the heat dissipation to the bulk water underneath is minimized by the pristine nanocellulose layer. You don’t want to waste the heat; you want to confine the heat to the top layer where the evaporation is actually happening.”
The cellulose at the bottom of the bi-layered biofoam acts as a sponge, drawing water up to the graphene oxide where rapid evaporation occurs. The resulting fresh water can easily be collected from the top of the sheet.
The process in which the bi-layered biofoam is actually formed is also novel. In the same way an oyster makes a pearl, the bacteria forms layers of nanocellulose fibers in which the graphene oxide flakes get embedded.
“While we are culturing the bacteria for the cellulose, we added the graphene oxide flakes into the medium itself,” said Qisheng Jiang, lead author of the paper and a graduate student in the Singamaneni lab.
“The graphene oxide becomes embedded as the bacteria produces the cellulose. At a certain point along the process, we stop, remove the medium with the graphene oxide and reintroduce fresh medium. That produces the next layer of our foam. The interface is very strong; mechanically, it is quite robust.”
The new biofoam is also extremely light and inexpensive to make, making it a viable tool for water purification and desalination.
“Cellulose can be produced on a massive scale,” Singamaneni said, “and graphene oxide is extremely cheap — people can produce tons, truly tons, of it. Both materials going into this are highly scalable. So one can imagine making huge sheets of the biofoam.”
“The properties of this foam material that we synthesized has characteristics that enhances solar energy harvesting. Thus, it is more effective in cleaning up water,” said Pratim Biswas, the Lucy and Stanley Lopata Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering.
“The synthesis process also allows addition of other nanostructured materials to the foam that will increase the rate of destruction of the bacteria and other contaminants, and make it safe to drink. We will also explore other applications for these novel structures.”
American Process Inc. Announces Joint Development Agreement for 3D Printing of Living Cartilage Tissue Using Nanocellulose for Facial Reconstruction
ATLANTA, GEROGIA (PRWEB) JULY 07, 2016
American Process Inc. (Atlanta, GA) and Swansea University Medical School (Swansea, Wales, UK) have entered into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) to develop 3D printed tissue cartilage made from human cells and nanocellulose for use in facial reconstruction.
The project is funded by an award granted to Swansea’s Reconstructive Surgery and Regenerative Medicine (ReconRegen) Research Group by the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council. This multi-disciplinary technology development collaboration includes plastic surgeons, engineers, scientists, and the nanocellulose manufacturer, American Process Inc. (API).
Swansea’s ReconRegen group has previously shown that nanocellulose is compatible with human cells and can be printed as a support tissue structure. The group has also shown that living cells can survive the 3D printing process.
Under this JDA, cells will be blended with various formulations of nanocellulose scaffold material and 3D-printed into tissues for reconstructive surgery. The goal of the project is to produce anatomically-shaped tissues tailored for individual patients that are durable enough to survive indefinitely and able to withstand degradation, long term. This would be the first step towards personalised reconstruction.
According to project leader Professor Iain Whitaker, “3D printing is increasingly used to manufacture prosthetics and implants from materials like plastic or titanium. But bio-printing – using human cells instead of man-made material – is a promising new science. We are printing living tissues, living structures, tailored to the needs of individual patients. We hope that in the future, patients who have lost all or part of their ear or nose through trauma or cancer could have reconstruction using new tissue which is grown from their own cells using nanocellulose. Biomaterials are a key component of our tissue printing technology and nanocellulose is our biomaterial of choice because of its biocompatibility, mechanical and structural properties that can support cell attachment and growth in three-dimensions.”
As a novel biomaterial, nanocellulose has various characteristics that make it a preferred component for “bioinks”. Its high water holding capacity and unique particle assembly in water causes nanocellulose to form shear-thinning gels that flow easily during printing but becomes firm gel-like three-dimensional structures when deposited on a surface. In addition, nanocellulose self-assembles to form dense, smooth, and strong structures after drying. Research has also shown nanocellulose to be non-cytotoxic to growing cells.
According to Zita Jessop, an MRC Clinical Research Fellow, “We chose to partner with API because of their unique nanocellulose process that produces a variety of nanocellulose products with various particle sizes and surface chemistry and because of their ability to provide large quantities needed for our technology development efforts. We also depend on their expertise in handling and processing this unique material in our application.” Dr Ayesha Al-Sabah, a ReconRegen Postdoctoral Fellow, reported that “on trialing the nanocellulose bioink it became clear that the rheological properties were ideally suited to nozzle-based 3D bioprinting”.
According to Theodora Retsina, CEO of API, “Nanocellulose has a variety of advantages that we expect to significantly impact the growing biomedical engineering field. Tissue engineering alone will have significant impact on the global economy. According to a recent market report, the global market will increase from US$23 billion currently to over US$94 billion by 2022. We are thrilled to collaborate with the innovators at Swansea who are contributing to this global growth. We built our BioPlus® nanocellulose demonstration plant to support efforts such as this to develop break-through technologies that will provide solutions for a more healthful, prosperous future for global citizens.”
The BioPlus nanocellulose technology is currently being demonstrated at API’s Thomaston Biorefinery in Thomaston, Georgia which is also the site of the company’s research and development laboratory. API has positioned itself as a leader in the nanocellulose intellectual property (IP) landscape with over 100 patents pending in the field and four granted in the US. Under the terms of the Joint Development Agreement, it is anticipated that third-parties interested in commercializing technologies developed during the project in the fields of 3D bioprinting, plastic surgery, and tissue reconstruction with nanocellulose will license IP from both API and Swansea University.
Norske Skog receives NOK 6.5 million ($784,086) from Innovation Norway for two projects
4 July 2016 – Lesprom.com
The project funding will cover the building of a pilot plant to develop necessary production techniques to realize full-scale production of the new fibreboards. The boards will be tested and developed in collaboration with potential customers in the construction industry. The project aim is to realize full-scale production within a short time frame.
Nanocellulose – The Fastest Growing Materials Market
I have recently finished working on two projects that got me thinking about the bigger picture of the emerging industry of cellulose nanomaterials and some of the broader commercialization aspects.
Both projects were reports on cellulose nanomaterial research programs that focused primarily on the applications for and economics of this continually emerging technology. The first is a market study evaluating the sales data from the University of Maine and the Forest Products Laboratory. The second (which is nearing release) is an economic analysis of the production and large-scale manufacturing of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). The focus of both studies was on where the cellulose nanomaterial industry is heading by attempting to provide a basis for viable business development. These studies revealed some very interesting results.
From my perspective, the technology, while continuing to be refined, is now established to the point of being able to consistently produce high-quality material. This manufacturing consistency has enabled the development of a variety of new uses and products for nanomaterials that we couldn’t even imagine ten or even five years ago. The next step in the evolution of the market is the development of scalable manufacturing processes that can be created to support viable (read: profitable) business models.
A simplified timeline of the technology market development might look like this:
Cellulose nanomaterials were initially developed for enhancement of various physical and mechanical properties of paper and packaging products. It served the more traditional markets of publishing, print advertising, manuals, catalogs, packaging, etc. While we continue to see the use of these products, with the massive and rapid shift away from printed paper to digital publication and delivery, numerous new uses have emerged. These include chemicals, adhesives, filters, food, biomedical applications, and consumer products like textiles and cosmetics, to name just a few.
We know that new products introduced into the marketplace have seen accelerating adoption rates over the last thirty years. The complete cycle from new product introduction to near full adoption has been shortened considerably over the past century from decades to, in many instances, less than ten years.
The potential uses for cellulose nanomaterials continue to be developed and are limited only by our imagination. As new uses and products emerge, those companies focused on making large-scale manufacturing economically viable are going to be in the best position to capitalize on what may be the fastest growing materials market in the world today.
To receive a copy of the presentation that was delivered at the recent TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology in France, or to find out how I can help your company take advantage of new opportunities in this emerging industry, please contact me directly through the contact info below.
John Cowie, nanoC Consulting
Purdue researchers develop biodegradable polymer films from cellulose
Jun 8, 2016 – Farm Futures
Cellulose’s abundance, renewability and ability to biodegrade make it promising substitute for petroleum-based products.
Purdue University researchers have developed tough, flexible, biodegradable films from cellulose, the main component of plant cell walls. The films could be used for products such as food packaging, agricultural groundcovers, bandages and capsules for medicine or bioactive compounds.
Food scientists Srinivas Janaswamy and Qin Xu engineered the cellophane-like material by solubilizing cellulose using zinc chloride, a common inorganic salt, and adding calcium ions to cause the cellulose chains to become tiny fibers known as nanofibrils, greatly increasing the material’s tensile strength. The zinc chloride and calcium ions work together to form a gel network, allowing the researchers to cast the material into a transparent, food-grade film.
“We’re looking for innovative ways to adapt and use cellulose – an inexpensive and widely available material – for a range of food, biomedical and pharmaceutical applications,” said Janaswamy, research assistant professor of food science and principal author of the study. “Though plastics have a wide variety of applications, their detrimental impact on the environment raises a critical need for alternative materials. Cellulose stands out as a viable option, and our process lays a strong foundation for developing new biodegradable plastics.”
Cellulose’s abundance, renewability and ability to biodegrade make it a promising substitute for petroleum-based products. While a variety of products such as paper, cellophane and rayon are made from cellulose, its tightly interlinked structure and insolubility – qualities that give plants strength and protection – make it a challenging material to work with.
Janaswamy and Xu loosened the cellulose network by adding zinc chloride, which helps push cellulose’s closely packed sheets apart, allowing water to penetrate and solubilize it. Adding calcium ions spurs the formation of nanofibrils through strong bonds between the solubilized cellulose sheets. The calcium ions boost the tensile strength of the films by about 250%.
The production process preserves the strength and biodegradability of cellulose while rendering it transparent and flexible.
Because the zinc chloride can be recycled to repeat the process, the method offers an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional means of breaking down cellulose, which tend to rely on toxic chemicals and extreme temperatures.
“Products based on this film can have a no-waste lifecycle,” said Xu, research assistant professor of food science and first author of the study. “This process allows us to create a valuable product from natural materials – including low-value or waste materials such as corn stover or wood chips- that can eventually be returned to the Earth.”
The next step in the project is to find ways of making the cellulose film insoluble to water while maintaining its ability to biodegrade.
Janaswamy and Xu have filed a technology disclosure agreement with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.
The paper was published in Carbohydrate Polymers and is free to download until July 2, click here.
Source: Purdue University Agriculture News
A new kind of wood chip: collaboration could lead to biodegradable computer chips
May 26, 2015 – University of Wisconsin
Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers’ pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.
In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin—Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.
The research team, led by UW–Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.
“The majority of material in a chip is support. We only use less than a couple of micrometers for everything else,” Ma says. “Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it. They become as safe as fertilizer.”
Zhiyong Cai, project leader for an engineering composite science research group at FPL, has been developing sustainable nanomaterials since 2009.
“If you take a big tree and cut it down to the individual fiber, the most common product is paper. The dimension of the fiber is in the micron stage,” Cai says. “But what if we could break it down further to the nano scale? At that scale you can make this material, very strong and transparent CNF paper.”
Working with Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, a UW–Madison professor of biomedical engineering, Cai’s group addressed two key barriers to using wood-derived materials in an electronics setting: surface smoothness and thermal expansion.
“You don’t want it to expand or shrink too much. Wood is a natural hydroscopic material and could attract moisture from the air and expand,” Cai says. “With an epoxy coating on the surface of the CNF, we solved both the surface smoothness and the moisture barrier.”
Gong and her students also have been studying bio-based polymers for more than a decade. CNF offers many benefits over current chip substrates, she says.
“The advantage of CNF over other polymers is that it’s a bio-based material and most other polymers are petroleum-based polymers. Bio-based materials are sustainable, bio-compatible and biodegradable,” Gong says. “And, compared to other polymers, CNF actually has a relatively low thermal expansion coefficient.”
The group’s work also demonstrates a more environmentally friendly process that showed performance similar to existing chips. The majority of today’s wireless devices use gallium arsenide-based microwave chips due to their superior high-frequency operation and power handling capabilities. However, gallium arsenide can be environmentally toxic, particularly in the massive quantities of discarded wireless electronics.
Yei Hwan Jung, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and a co-author of the paper, says the new process greatly reduces the use of such expensive and potentially toxic material.
“I’ve made 1,500 gallium arsenide transistors in a 5-by-6 millimeter chip. Typically for a microwave chip that size, there are only eight to 40 transistors. The rest of the area is just wasted,” he says. “We take our design and put it on CNF using deterministic assembly technique, then we can put it wherever we want and make a completely functional circuit with performance comparable to existing chips.”
While the biodegradability of these materials will have a positive impact on the environment, Ma says the flexibility of the technology can lead to widespread adoption of these electronic chips.
“Mass-producing current semiconductor chips is so cheap, and it may take time for the industry to adapt to our design,” he says. “But flexible electronics are the future, and we think we’re going to be well ahead of the curve.”
Sappi continues move to biomaterials and bio-energy
Graphic Repro On-line, 14 June 2016.
• Sappi has commissioned the construction of a demonstration plant at Sappi’s Ngodwana Mill in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
• The demonstration plant will extract hemicellulose sugars and lignin from Sappi’s existing dissolving pulp line.
• The sugars platform will include beneficiation to higher value organic acids, glycols and sugar alcohols which find application in many everyday products.
• The plant continues Sappi’s strategic move into the biomaterials and bio-energy business fields to extract more value from the production processes and in response to the global demand for renewable materials with a lower carbon footprint.
• The investment in biochemicals follows on the earlier investments in biocomposites, nanocellulose as well as Sappi’s expansion of lignosulphonate capacity.
Sappi has entered into an agreement with leading global supplier Valmet for the construction of a second generation sugar extraction demonstration plant to explore and optimise the extraction of biorenewable chemicals. The plant will be close to industrial size and will be located at Sappi’s Ngodwana Mill in South Africa (pictured above). Start-up of the new plant is scheduled for the beginning of 2017.
Commenting on the decision, Andrea Rossi, group head technology, explained that the demonstration plant will accelerate Sappi’s move into new adjacent business fields based on renewable raw materials. Sappi’s strategy includes seeking growth opportunities by extracting further value from existing production processes. The feedstock for the demonstration plant would be supplied from Sappi’s Ngodwana dissolving wood pulp plant. The demonstration plant is the precursor for Sappi to consider construction of commercial plants at its dissolving wood pulp mills. The plant will also be used to improve the dissolving wood pulp manufacturing process.
He wenton to say, ‘The demonstration plant will make it possible to study the next generation dissolving pulping process and test new ideas at mill scale. The main features which we hope to demonstrate include increasing production output, higher dissolving pulp quality, lower operating cost and a new optimised hydrolysate revenue stream. The products from the demonstration plant will assist in the development of various beneficiation options for the different dissolving wood pulp lines operated by Sappi.’
Louis Kruyshaar, leader of the new Sappi Biotech division commented, ‘New revenue opportunities include possibilities to extract biobased materials from the cooking plant pre-hydrolysate stream (such as hemicellulose sugars and lignin) for beneficiation to higher value biochemicals. These applications respond to the global demand for renewable materials with a lower carbon footprint. The products under development will expand Sappi’s renewable biomaterials offering which include nanocellulose, biocomposites and lignosulphonate. This technology will also further enhance Sappi’s global competitiveness and cost leadership and strengthen its production base in South Africa.’
South African headquartered Sappi, a leading global producer of dissolving wood pulp and graphics, speciality and packaging papers, uses research and development to drive product innovation and to develop new uses for its renewable resource (woodfibre) as well as for the biomass and other residues from its production processes. One such area of investigation is in the field of biomaterials (nanocellulose and lignins), biochemicals and bio-energy forest products materials which Sappi believes will play a key role in its future range of products, both as a product in itself and in its applications.
For more information visit: www.sappi.com.
Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. For more information: www.valmet.com.
American Process, Inc. Announces Sulfite Nanocellulose Patent Allowed by USPTO
ATLANTA, GEORGIA (PRWEB) JUNE 14, 2016
The USPTO has allowed API’s patent application covering a sulfite chemical treatment process to convert wood chips or other forms of biomass to pulp for making nanocellulose compositions.
American Process, Inc. (API) announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has allowed U.S. Patent App. No. 14/584,593 for “SULFITE-BASED PROCESSES FOR PRODUCING NANOCELLULOSE, AND COMPOSITIONS AND PRODUCTS PRODUCED THEREFROM.”
This patent covers using a traditional sulfite chemical treatment process to convert wood chips or other forms of biomass to pulp for making nanocellulose compositions. This patent is also pending in Europe and will be filed in other countries. A continuation application, U.S. Patent App. No. 15/180,356, was also filed in June 2016 to expand the claims.
According to lead inventor Dr. Kim Nelson, “We are thrilled to expand our protected nanocellulose IP portfolio to include this variation which incorporates sulfite pulping. With over 100 nanocellulose patents pending including unique processing and end-use applications, API continues our 20-year history of innovation technology breakthroughs.”
API has been an active biorefinery innovator for over two decades and has several technologies on the market. API’s CEO Dr. Theodora Retsina remarks, “API’s suite of technologies provide a flexible biorefinery platform to economically produce various chemicals, materials, sugars, fuels, and energy from lignocellulosic biomass. Nanocellulose in particular offers a tremendous opportunity to create substantial value for biorefineries globally, including existing pulp and paper mills. I am pleased that API is one of the technology leaders in the nanocellulose revolution.”
API’s IP portfolio now includes over 30 granted patents and over 250 published and unpublished patent applications in the United States, Europe, Asia, Brazil, and other countries, as well as proprietary know-how and trade secrets, according to Dr. Ryan O’Connor, API’s CIPO.
Additional information is online at http://www.americanprocess.com/bioplus. For more information about API’s nanocellulose technologies, please contact:
Kim Nelson, Ph.D.
VP Nanocellulose Technology
American Process Inc.
750 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: 1-404-872-8807, x213
Mille-feuille-filter removes viruses from water
‘ With a filter material directly from nature, and by using simple production methods, we believe that our filter paper can become the affordable global water filtration solution and help save lives. Our goal is to develop a filter paper that can remove even the toughest viruses from water as easily as brewing coffee’, says Albert Mihranyan, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University, who heads the study.
Access to safe drinking water is among the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. More than 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Water-borne infections are among the global causes for mortality, especially in children under age of five, and viruses are among the most notorious water-borne infectious microorganisms. They can be both extremely resistant to disinfection and difficult to remove by filtration due to their small size.
Today we heavily rely on chemical disinfectants, such as chlorine, which may produce toxic by-products depending on water quality. Filtration is a very effective, robust, energy-efficient, and inert method of producing drinking water as it physically removes the microorganisms from water rather than inactivates them. But the high price of efficient filters is limiting their use today.
‘ Safe drinking water is a problem not only in the low-income countries. Massive viral outbreaks have also occurred in Europe in the past, including Sweden, continues Mihranyan referring to the massive viral outbreak in Lilla Edet municipality in Sweden in 2008, when more than 2400 people or almost 20% of the local population got infected with Norovirus due to poor water. ‘
Cellulose is one of the most common filtering media used in daily life from tea-bags to vacuum cleaners. However, the general-purpose filter paper has too large pores to remove viruses. In 2014, the group has described for the first time a paper filter that can remove large size viruses, such as influenza virus.
Small size viruses have been much harder to get rid of, as they are extremely resistant to physical and chemical inactivation. A successful filter should not only remove viruses but also feature high flow, low fouling, and long life-time, which makes advanced filters very expensive to develop. Now, with the breakthrough achieved using the mille-feuille filter the long awaited shift to affordable advanced filtration solutions may at last become a reality. Another application of the filter includes production of therapeutic proteins and vaccines.
The research was carried out in collaboration with German virologists, and excellent teamwork is behind the success, according to Mihranyan. The other team members include Simon Gustafsson and Pascal Lordat at Uppsala University as well as Tobias Hanrieder, Dr. Marcel Asper, and Dr. Oliver Schaefer from Charles River, Cologne, Germany, who possess some of the world’s best competences, when it comes to validating virus-retentive filters.
Gustafsson S. et al; Mille-feuille paper: a novel type of filter architecture for advanced virus separation applications; Mater. Horiz., 2016, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6MH00090H
Read about the research in Materials Horizons
Professor Albert Mihranyan, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University, Sweden, email: firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com, phone +46 70 167 90 37.
UPM Cellulosic Biomaterial Used for Cancer Cell Research
The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) – 19 May 2016
The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), at the University of Helsinki and UPM Biochemicals have started a joint research project with the purpose of investigating the applicability of UPM’s new cellulose-based gel material for cancer research.
The project focuses on growing cancer cells on a three-dimensional culture using UPM’s new biomaterial and studying the drug responses of the cancer cells. This exciting research project brings together two growth areas: bioeconomy and personalised medicine.
“One of the key challenges in experimental drug testing is being able to grow cells in a laboratory in an environment that resembles the human body,” says Senior Researcher Vilja Pietiäinen, who is responsible for coordinating the project at FIMM.
“We need better three-dimensional models for cell culture so that cells from cancer tissue would retain their distinctive characteristics also outside the body. Creating an environment that resembles tissue requires new types of materials.”
UPM concentrates on innovations related to the efficient and responsible use of recyclable and renewable wood biomass. The biomaterial used in this joint research project is a cellulose-based hydrogel developed by UPM. It is highly biocompatible with human cells and tissues and it can be used in three-dimensional cell culture.
“This joint project is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with an internationally recognised expert in their field and find new life science applications for our biomaterial. The hydrogel that will be used in the project is one example of our innovations in the field of bioeconomy. These innovations help us create new business opportunities related to the use of renewable biomass,” says Pia Nilsson, head of the GrowDex business at UPM Biochemicals.
FIMM, the academic partner in the research project, specialises in research into personalised medicine. The institute’s high throughput screening unit allows researchers to determine the response of different types of cancer cells to hundreds of drugs in only a few days. The constantly increasing amount of data enables researchers to identify cancer cell characteristics that help predict the most efficient drug for each type of cancer. In time, this information will also help patients.
“We foresee that co-operation with UPM can help us build better cell models also for the needs of personalised medicine,” Vilja Pietiäinen continues.
Vilja Pietiäinen, Senior Researcher, FIMM, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 40 510 2546, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pia Nilsson, Senior Manager, UPM Biochemicals, tel. +358 40 558 7829
UPM Biochemicals offers sustainable and competitive wood-based biochemicals for a variety of industrial uses, without compromising product performance. The principal raw material of our products is certified wood originating from sustainably managed forests. We develop new bio-based materials for the biomedical and other sectors. We aim to expedite the development of new solutions through our collaboration with a number of different partners. www.upmbiochemicals.com
Through the renewing of the bio and forest industries, UPM is building a sustainable future across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Paper Asia, UPM Paper ENA and UPM Plywood. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. We serve our customers worldwide. The group employs around 19,600 people and its annual sales are approximately EUR 10 billion. UPM shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki. UPM – The Biofore Company – www.upm.com
The Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) is an international research institute in Helsinki focusing on human genomics and personalised medicine. FIMM integrates molecular medicine research, Technology Centre and Biobanking Infrastructures “under one roof” and thereby promotes translational research and adoption of personalised medicine in health care.
FIMM is an independent institute of the University of Helsinki and part of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, composed of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the centres for molecular medicine in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. In 2015, FIMM had a personnel of 220 and a budget of around 17 million euros, with more than 50% arising from external competitive grants. More information: www.fimm.fi
American Process Inc. Announces Chemical-Free Pulping Technology Enhanced with Nanocellulose for Lightweight Packaging Production
New technology replaces chemical pulping for production of high-strength, lightweight paper-based packaging.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA (PRWEB) MAY 16, 2016
American Process Inc. (Atlanta, GA), a leading biorefinery technology developer, announces launch of their patent-pending GreenBox++™ technology that replaces chemical pulping for production of high-strength, lightweight paper-based packaging using a chemical-free, water-based process powered by nanocellulose.
GreenBox++ technology is a 2nd generation enhancement of API’s GreenBox+® technology. In June 2015, API announced commercial installation of the GreenBox+ technology at Cascades’ Norampac-Cabano paper-based packaging facility in Quebec, Canada where a sodium carbonate-based chemical process was replaced with API’s patented hot-water extraction process. With GreenBox+ technology, the facility reduces its environmental footprint and process energy costs.
According to Dr. Kim Nelson, API’s VP of Nanocellulose Technology, “We have enhanced the performance and market potential of our GreenBox+ technology with addition of a bolt-on nanocellulose processing line. Utilizing nanocellulose produced on site from pulp made from our GreenBox+ process, the strength of paper-based materials used for packaging such as corrugated medium can be significantly increased. The strength-boost offered by nanocellulose makes GreenBox++ technology suitable for retrofitting both sodium carbonate and kraft pulping processes. This strength increase may also allow papermakers to lightweight packaging, or reduce the amount of material used.”
According to Smithers Pira, a global market leader in packaging industry reports, reducing packaging material weights is an ongoing effort for suppliers, brand owners and retailers in support of cost reduction, reduction of environmental burden and progressing towards sustainability. Legislation is in place around the world to support this as well as significant pressure from consumers and retailers.
API’s CEO Dr. Theodora Retsina remarks, “We are very excited about the sustainability profile of the GreenBox++ technology. By replacing traditional pulping chemicals with water and nanocellulose to produce high-strength paper-based packaging, existing mills can see improvements in energy use, efficiency, carbon footprint and competitiveness. Using conventional pulp and paper equipment, significant cost benefits can be realized by removing chemical costs and chemical recovery systems.”
The GreenBox+ patent portfolio now includes U.S. Patent No. 9,347,176, to be issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 24, 2016; Canadian Patent No. 2,887,149, issued by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office on January 5, 2016; other patents pending globally; and proprietary know-how and trade secrets, according to Dr. Ryan O’Connor, API’s CIPO. API has also filed several patent applications for onsite coproduction of pulp and nanocellulose for production of high-strength packaging.
The GreenBox++ technology with nanocellulose coproduction is currently being demonstrated at API’s Thomaston Biorefinery in Thomaston Georgia, just south of Atlanta.
Kyle Fletcher, Executive Director Thomaston-Upson County Industrial Development remarks “We are thrilled that API continues to develop and demonstrate proprietary technology innovation in our city. With several distinct technologies being demonstrated at the biorefinery along with a world-class R&D center, API has established our city as a key player in the global biorefinery field.”
About American Process, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, American Process, Inc. focuses on pioneering renewable materials, fuels and chemicals from biomass and develops proprietary technologies and strategic alliances in the field to be scaled industrially throughout the world.
For more information about the GreenBox++ technology and nanocellulose, please contact:
Kim Nelson, Ph.D.
VP Nanocellulose Technology
American Process Inc.
750 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: 1-404-872-8807, x213
Scalable Processing of Thermoplastic Polyurethane Nanocomposites Toughened with Nanocellulose
Chemical Engineering Journal – 14 May 2016
Khairatun Najwa Mohd Amina a,b, Nasim Amiraliana a, Pratheep K. Annamalaia a, Grant Edwardsa a, Celine Chaleata a, Darren J. Martina a
a Australian Institute Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), Corner College and Cooper Rd (Bldg 75), The University of Queensland Brisbane Qld 4072, Australia
b Faculty of Chemical Engineering & Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Lebuhraya Tun Razak, 26300 Gambang Kuantan, Pahang D.M. Malaysia
Received 24 February 2016, Revised 10 May 2016, Accepted 13 May 2016, Available online 14 May 2016
• Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is toughened with high aspect ratio nanocellulose.
• Scalable approach of processing nanocomposites is shown via reactive extrusion.
• The ‘polyol-nanocellulose dispersion route’ could reduce the usage of organic solvent.
• With 0.5 wt.% nanocellulose, TPU showed upto 43% improvement in tensile strength.
• With spinifex nanocellulose at low loading, elastic properties of have been retained.
The production of strong and elastic polyurethane nanocomposites toughened with nanocellulose and their widespread application in many engineering fields are currently limited by poor processability via classical industrial processing methods and/or the usage of large amount of solvents. In this report, we demonstrate a scalable, organic solvent-free incorporation of nanocellulose into thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and a remarkable reinforcement without compromising elastic properties. The nanocomposites were prepared via water-assisted dispersion of nanocellulose in polyether polyol by bead milling, drying and reactive extrusion of this dispersion with comonomers. Upon the incorporation of nanocellulose (0.5 wt.%), as observed from infrared spectroscopic and thermal analysis, the phase mixing of hard and soft-segments in the TPU matrix and the primary relaxation temperature have slightly increased due to the hydrogen bonding, interfacial area and nucleation enhanced by long polar nanocrystals. The TPU/nanocellulose nanocomposites prepared with an appropriate stoichiometric ratio (determined through appropriate process control) showed a remarkable improvement (up to 43%) in ultimate tensile strength without compromising the elastic properties including elongation, creep and hysteresis.
American Process, Inc. Announces Additional Nanocellulose Patents Granted by USPTO
ATLANTA, GEORGIA (PRWEB) MAY 05, 2016
American Process, Inc. (API) announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted two additional patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 9,322,133 and 9,322,134, to API and its affiliated companies for BioPlus® nanocellulose technology. These patents cover processes for making nanocellulose as well as hydrophobic nanocellulose compositions. In addition to these patents and U.S. Patent No. 9,187,865 awarded last November, patents are pending for the nanocellulose material and various market applications in the U.S., Brazil, Europe, Japan, China, India, Russia, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and South Africa.
According to lead inventor Dr. Kim Nelson, “We are thrilled to expand our protected nanocellulose IP portfolio to include our unique, low-cost lignin-coated nanocellulose fibrils and crystals which are oleophilic and compatible with plastics. With over 100 nanocellulose patents pending including unique processing and end-use applications, API continues our 20-year history of innovation technology breakthroughs.”
API’s CEO Dr. Theodora Retsina remarks, “API’s suite of technologies provide a flexible biorefinery platform to economically produce various chemicals, materials, sugars, fuels, and energy from lignocellulosic biomass. Nanocellulose in particular offers a tremendous opportunity to create substantial value for biorefineries globally. I am pleased that API is part of technology leaders in the nanocellulose revolution.”
API has been an active biorefinery innovator for over two decades and has several technologies on the market. “API’s IP portfolio now includes over 30 granted patents and over 250 published and unpublished patent applications in the United States, Europe, Asia, Brazil, and other countries, as well as proprietary know-how and trade secrets,” commented Dr. Ryan O’Connor, API’s CIPO.
Additional information is online at http://www.americanprocess.com/bioplus. For more information about API’s BioPlus nanocellulose, please contact:
Kim Nelson, Ph.D.
VP Nanocellulose Technology
American Process Inc.
750 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Phone: 1-404-872-8807, x213
Innovative packaging strategies to reduce losses of fresh food products
Damage and economic losses borne by all the food chains in packaging stages and marketing, are heard by the manufacturers and are mostly economic accidents for small, medium and large retailers, as for consumers.
Disorders characterized by the development of necrotic areas, rot, or other damage on fresh fruits and vegetables are usually caused by microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) saprophytes but also often plant pathogens, that is coming from the production fields.
These aspects are the basis of a partnership between the Italian research teams at Dep. DICA University of Perugia (Terni) and at Dep. DAFNE University of Tuscia (Viterbo), which have developed innovative and environmentally friendly materials (films to be used in the food industry), by using biodegradable polymers reinforced with active natural additives with antimicrobial activity.
Among the various studies the two research groups have investigated the properties of ternary polymeric films based on poly(lactic acid) (PLA), containing cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and lignin nanoparticles (LNP) at different contents.
In this sense, some results were recently published in international journals (European Polymer Journal (2016) 79 1-12. “Synergic effect of cellulose and lignin nanostructures PLA based systems for antibacterial food packaging”, and International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2016) , www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27126170, “Effect of cellulose and lignin on disintegration, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of active PLA films”, Authors: W Yang, E Fortunati, Dominici F, G Giovanale, A. Mazzaglia, GM Balestra, JM Kenny, D Puglia), gaining considerable interest for industrial developments.
Specifically, they have been designed and highlighted the thermal, optical, mechanical and morphological properties, of PLA based nanocomposites reinforced with nanocellulose and nanolignin. The results of the optical characterization have confirmed a synergistic effect of the two nanostructures in terms of optical transparency and contemporary barrier to UV light. Furthermore, the combination of the two lignocellulosic nano-reinforcements, has been shown to be effective in terms of increasing the crystallinity of multifunctional nanocomposite systems that have shown also enhanced mechanical strength. The combination of lignin nanoparticles and cellulose nanocrystals in PLA polymer matrix have produced a remarkable antimicrobial activity, reducing the multiplication of different phytopathogenic bacteria in nature such as, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato (Pst), Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria (Xav) and Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni (Xap), causal agents of tomato bacterial spot and bacterial speck, and bacterial canker of stonefruits, respectively, able to cause considerable damages and economic losses during post-harvest and marketing phases for final productions (tomato, plums, apricots, peaches).
The results obtained for the proposed multifunctional PLA based films containing lignin nanoparticles and nanocellulose highlighted important opportunities to develop innovative and environmentally friendly packaging strategies, useful for the entire food industry, able to reduce damages and alteration of fresh food caused by bacteria and, to limit, as consequence, economic losses.
Different studies that take into account different biodegradable materials, numerous active principles or additives with antimicrobial and/or antioxidant activity, and different microorganisms involved in these alterations, in order to develop innovative “active packaging” systems, able to reduce, by means of “green” and sustainable strategies, the current economic losses in different food chains.
Prof. Giorgio M. Balestra
Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Agricoltura e le Foreste (DAFNE)
Università degli Studi della Tuscia
Via S. Camillo de Lellis
01100 Viterbo – Italy
Publication date: 5/10/2016
Nanocellulose strengthens polymers used in automobile parts
May 4, 2016 – Seeker.com
Nano-cellulose fibers derived from plants are used to create a material that is 30 percent lighter and three-to-four times stronger than conventional plastic.
In their attempt to develop a more eco-friendly way to reinforce automotive plastics, the efforts of a team of Brazilian scientists have finally bore fruit.
By using fibers from such fruits as bananas and pineapples, the scientists claim they can reinforce new plastics, making them not only stronger and lighter, but more sustainable as well.
Study leader Alcides Leao recently addressed the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society expounding on the durability of the new plastic’s nano-cellulose fibers, some of which are almost as stiff as Kevlar.
“The properties of these plastics are incredible,” Leao said at the exposition. “They are light, but very strong — 30 per cent lighter and three-to-four times stronger. We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers, side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruit fibers in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars and that will improve fuel economy.”
To create these nano-fibers, scientists put the leaves and stems of pineapples and other plants into a device similar to a pressure cooker. Certain chemicals were added and heated over several cycles, producing a fine powder that was then added to the plastics. Scientists say the process is costly, but it takes only one pound of nano-cellulose to produce 100 pounds of super-strong, lightweight plastic.
“So far, we’re focusing on replacing automotive plastics,” said Leao. “But in the future, we may be able to replace steel and aluminum automotive parts using these plant-based nanocellulose materials.”
Sustainable dyeing technology wins at international chemistry challenge
The University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia – 27 April 2016 – Cal Powell
A team of scientists from the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences has won first prize in the inaugural Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge for an innovative and environmentally friendly textile dyeing technology using nanocellulosic fibers.
Conventional dyeing processes require large amounts of water and create toxic effluent, or waste, that can be costly to treat. The wastewater from dye facilities often contains synthetic dyes and toxic chemicals, which leaves substantial ecological footprints, said research associate Yunsang Kim.
“The problem is that most of these textile dyeing industries are located in developing countries in which the regulation and societal concerns for environmental issues are really loose compared to developed countries,” Kim said.
The team’s project involves the production of nano-structured cellulose and the use of nanocellulose in a sustainable dyeing process that significantly reduces the amount of wastewater and toxic chemicals.
The competition, sponsored by Germany’s Leuphana University and Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific and academic journals, promotes projects that best offer sustainable processes, products and resources suitable for use in developing countries. Nearly 500 proposals were submitted for the competition, with five selected as finalists after an extensive review process.
Kim presented the project on behalf of the UGA team at the Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Berlin this month.
“It was amazing,” Kim said of hearing the announcement. “We now have an opportunity to develop our project to the next stage in which we will be able to contribute to helping people in developing countries.”
The team’s process involves using cellulose to dye materials. During a homogenization process, cellulose, a readily available natural polymer found in the primary cell wall of green plants, is converted into a hydrogel material consisting of nanocellulose fibers.
Compared to cotton fibers, nanocellulose fibers have 70 times more surface area with high reactivity, allowing for the efficient uptake and attachment of dye molecules.
Dyed nanocellulose hydrogels are then transferred to a textile by a conventional printing method.
“We were able to reduce the amount of water and dye auxiliaries such as inorganic salt and alkali by a factor of 10,” Kim said. “We are also working on the incorporation of other functionalities onto textiles using nanocellulose as a vehicle, capitalizing on its extremely large surface area and strong affinity to cotton-based textiles.”
College faculty members who participated in the project are Suraj Sharma, associate professor in the textiles, merchandising and interiors department; Sergiy Minko, the Georgia Power Professor of Polymers, Fibers and Textiles; and Ian Hardin, the Georgia Power Professor of Textile Science Emeritus.
The project is part of the recently announced Advanced Functional Fabrics of America Institute, a national public-private consortium established to revolutionize the fabric and textiles industry through commercialization of highly functional, advanced fibers and textiles for the defense and commercial markets.
Borregaard Receives EUR 25 million for Commercialization of Microfibrillar Cellulose from the EU Framework Programme
This support comes from the “Horizon 2020 Flagship Programme”, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The funding is intended to reduce the financial risks involved in the development and market introduction of new technologies in a commercial phase.
In connection with the project, Borregaard will lead a consortium of European companies and research institutions consisting of Ayming (Belgium), Chimar (Greece), KTH (Sweden), Unilever (UK) and Ostfold Research (Norway).
The funding will cover up to 60% of Borregaard’s project costs, to a maximum of EUR 25 million over three years, starting from 1 May 2016. The funding will be reduced if the project makes a profit during the period.
Borregaard has developed Exilva microfibrillar cellulose since 2007 through research, pilot testing and in close cooperation with potential customers. The raw material is specialty cellulose which is split up into a complex network of fibrils in a proprietary technology. Exilva has unique properties: it regulates viscosity, stabilises emulsions, provides consistency and is a water-binding agent. The product can be used in a variety of applications, such as adhesives, detergents, cosmetics, composites and other industrial uses.
Borregaard has one of the world’s most advanced biorefineries. By using natural, sustainable raw materials, Borregaard produces advanced and environmentally friendly biochemicals and biomaterials that can replace oil-based products. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange and has 1080 employees in factories and sales offices in 16 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
3D Bioprinting of Human Tissue Using Nanocellulose
American Chemical Society – 25 March 2016- Biomacromolecules, 2015, 16 (5), pp 1489–1496
The introduction of 3D bioprinting is expected to revolutionize the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. The 3D bioprinter is able to dispense materials while moving in X, Y, and Z directions, which enables the engineering of complex structures from the bottom up. In this study, a bioink that combines the outstanding shear thinning properties of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) with the fast cross-linking ability of alginate was formulated for the 3D bioprinting of living soft tissue with cells. Printability was evaluated with concern to printer parameters and shape fidelity. The shear thinning behavior of the tested bioinks enabled printing of both 2D gridlike structures as well as 3D constructs. Furthermore, anatomically shaped cartilage structures, such as a human ear and sheep meniscus, were 3D printed using MRI and CT images as blueprints. Human chondrocytes bioprinted in the noncytotoxic, nanocellulose-based bioink exhibited a cell viability of 73% and 86% after 1 and 7 days of 3D culture, respectively. On the basis of these results, we can conclude that the nanocellulose-based bioink is a suitable hydrogel for 3D bioprinting with living cells. This study demonstrates the potential use of nanocellulose for 3D bioprinting of living tissues and organs.
Kajsa Markstedt†‡, Athanasios Mantas‡, Ivan Tournier‡, Héctor Martínez Ávila‡, Daniel Hägg‡, and Paul Gatenholm*†‡
†Wallenberg Wood Science Center and ‡Biopolymer Technology, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg 412 96, Sweden
Nanocellulose used in anti-fog spray coating
Treaty, LLC is a newly established nanotechnology company. Treaty is currently focused on the development and applications of nanocellulose. Nanocellulose is nano-sized cellulose; cellulose is the major component of plants and is the most abundant natural resource in the world. They developed a patent-pending technique to extract nanocellulose from recycled paper and cardboard. Their extraction technique is extremely cheap and clean, and requires very low energy input.
Right now they are creating biodegradable end-use products using nanocellulose. Their first creation is called FogKicker. FogKicker is a biodegradable, nontoxic anti-fog coating made from nanocellulose. FogKicker prevents the formation of fog on any surface, including athletic goggles, safety goggles, glasses, helmet visors, home and hotel bathroom mirrors, car windshields, and display screens. It’s easy to apply, and works like magic.
Japan pins tech hopes on game-changing nanofiber
KAZUAKI NAGATA – Japan Times – 11 April 2016
Carbon fiber may often be dubbed the next-generation material, but it’s another product — cellulose nanofiber — that is increasingly attracting attention among manufacturers.
A low-weight, high-strength material, cellulose nanofiber has potential use in a wide range of products, including auto parts, food packaging, clothing, cosmetics and inks.
Recognizing this, and in light of the nation’s existing forest farming industry, the government is promoting the material whose market is expected to reach ¥1 trillion annually in Japan by 2030.
So what is cellulose nanofiber? A wood-derived fiber, it is essentially made by pulping wood fibers to a nano level of several hundredths of a micron and smaller, or about 10,000 times thinner than human hair.
The result is an ultra-fine fiber that is light but strong — it is said to be about five times stronger than iron but one-fifth its weight.
Utilizing this feature, backers of the product say it could slash the weight of vehicles if it is used for auto parts, making for a lighter, more energy-efficient — and environmentally friendly — car.
“Auto parts contain quite a lot of plastics. If we can replace (some plastics) with cellulose nanofiber, that could help cut some carbon dioxide emissions,” said Satoshi Hirata, secretary-general of Nanocellulose Forum, a consortium for cellulose nanofiber-related firms, researchers, organizations and municipalities.
However, nano-scale fiber also has a high oxygen blocking property and can be made into a transparent material, making it useful for food packaging. It also has cosmetic applications, as it boasts water retentivity and a nonstickiness.
And unlike plastic, which is made from the world’s limited petroleum stocks, cellulose nanofiber is also a renewable material.
Japan has about 25 million hectares of forest, both natural and farmed, which covers roughly 70 percent of the country.
The main manufacturers of cellulose nanofiber here are paper makers, including Nippon Paper Industries Co. and Oji Holdings Corp., which are set to increase production in coming years.
Oji Holdings plans to launch a pilot plant that will be able to manufacture 40 tons of cellulose nanofiber annually by the second half of fiscal 2016.
But production costs still need come down, Hirata said, adding that cellulose nanofiber will be mixed mostly with other materials instead of being used in its pure form.
The one exception may be thin film, which could be made with pure cellulose nanofiber, he said.
Last October, Nippon Paper started selling diapers partially made with cellulose nanofiber and which incorporate antibacterial and deodorant materials.
Also, Mitsubishi Pencil is now selling pens overseas with ink that contains cellulose nanofiber, while the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, a semipublic research body, is developing shoes using cellulose nanofiber to take advantage of its light weight. The project is a collaboration with the Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Technology, Asics Corp. and Shinei Kako Co.
“The market for cellulose nanofiber products is about to be established,” said Hirata. “Researchers and firms are looking to find various ways to use cellulose nanofiber. A technology to develop the material has been established, so the focus has shifted to its usage.”
Asked if cellulose nanofiber and carbon fiber will compete for market share, Hirata said they are likely to co-exist.
Carbon fiber is a better quality material, but it is more expensive to produce than cellulose nanofiber, he said.
He said he believed manufacturers will use cellulose nanofiber when they need a fine material that is cheaper than carbon fiber.
In a growth strategy paper released in 2014, the central government said it would promote the material as part of measures to revitalize Japan’s forestry industry, which has stagnated as a result of competition from cheaper wood imports. In 1980, some 146,000 people worked in the industry, but this declined to 51,200 in 2010. Industry production, meanwhile, plummeted to ¥430 billion in 2013 from ¥1.2 trillion in 1980.
Hirata said Japan’s Nanocellulose Forum consortium worked as a platform for people in the industry to communicate and also provide information for those interested in the material. The consortium had 298 members as of April 8.
As a result, Japanese cellulose nanofiber manufacturers and firms that want to use the material have been communicating closely, with Japan now one of the leading countries, along with Sweden and Finland, in research and development of the material.
“Cellulose nanofiber has spread to various industries. I think that’s Japan’s advantage,” Hirata said.
Optically Transparent Wood from a Nanoporous Cellulosic Template:
Combining Functional and Structural Performance
ACS Publications – BioMacromolecules – March 7, 2016
Optically transparent wood (TW) with transmittance as high as 85% and haze of 71% was obtained using a delignified nanoporous wood template. The template was prepared by removing the light-absorbing lignin component, creating nanoporosity in the wood cell wall. Transparent wood was prepared by successful impregnation of lumen and the nanoscale
cellulose fiber network in the cell wall with refractive-index-matched prepolymerized methyl methacrylate (MMA). During the process, the hierarchical wood structure was preserved. Optical properties of TW are tunable by changing the cellulose volume fraction. The synergy between wood and PMMA was observed for mechanical properties. Lightweight and strong transparent wood is a potential candidate for lightweight low-cost, light-transmitting buildings and transparent solar cell windows.
Full article – click here.
USDA grant funds work on nanocellulose, digestion
April 4, 2016 – University of Georgia – Athens, Ga
University of Georgia food engineer Fanbin Kong has been awarded a $496,317
grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to
study the safety of nanocellulose—a light, solid substance obtained from plant matter, generally
wood pulp—and how it affects the way humans digest food and absorb nutrients.
Kong developed models of the human stomach and intestine that realistically demonstrate the
way food breaks downs in the human body. These models help him test the effectiveness of
functional foods and develop new foods aimed at helping those with specific health issues.
“At UGA, we will use artificial stomach and intestine models to study how the nanocellulose
will transform their size and shape in the digestive tract, and how they will interact with protein,
lipid and starch molecules that affect their digestibility,” Kong said.
Nanocellulose is currently used in the food industry as a stabilizing agent, as a functional food
ingredient and in the production of food packaging. It “has big application potentials,” said
Kong, an assistant professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
department of food science technology.
“It could be added to packaging materials to strengthen them or added to food as a dietary fiber.
It also greatly increases the viscosity of foods. We now have the technology to break down
cellulose to nanoscale size, called nanocellulose, with a diameter of 1100 nanometers. In
comparison, human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.”
Scientists know the benefits of nanoellulose, but they don’t know how it behaves in the digestive
system once it’s been ingested.
“For example, will the very tiny particles easily penetrate into cells and tissues of the human
body and become a big health concern?” Kong asked. “Will the particles remain nanoscale or
will they aggregate together to increase the particle size? Will they bind to proteins,
carbohydrates or enzymes and make food digestion difficult, reducing nutrient absorption? Will
it impact the composition of the microorganisms that live in human digestive tracts” called gut
These are the questions Kong hopes to answer with the three year grant. He will collaborate with
scientists at the University of Missouri who will conduct cell tests to determine whether or not
the nanofibers can penetrate into intestinal cells and how they will impact the gut microflora.
Tailiang Guo, a toxicologist with the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, will use mice to
validate the results from the simulation test, including examining any toxic effects caused by
eating food that contains nanocellulose.
“Macroscale or microscale biomaterials are generally recognized as safe and do not pose health
risks to consumers,” Kong said. “However, the biological effects and toxicity of nanoscale
biomaterials can not be predicted solely from their chemical structures. This project will fill the
knowledge gap about the behavior of nanocellulose during digestion and reveal any toxic
Kong’s research grant is part of $5.2 million awarded in support of nanotechnology research at
11 universities. Collectively, these projects will research ways nanotechnology can be used to
improve food safety, enhance renewable fuels, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests
The funds were made available through the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the
nation’s premier competitive, peerreviewed grants program for fundamental and applied
“This important grant will allow Dr. Kong to continue his longterm work to help us better
understand how nanobiomaterials impact human, livestock and environmental health,” said
Robert N. Shulstad, the college’s associate dean for research. “This vital work will further our
quest to provide a safe food supply for the nation and beyond.”
Writer: Sharon Dowdy, 770/2293219, email@example.com
Contact: Fanbin Kong, 7065427773, firstname.lastname@example.org
UPM BioChemicals Establishes an Innovation Unit at the BioMedicum Research and Education Centre
UPM Biochemicals establishes an innovation unit at the Biomedicum research and educational centre in Meilahti, Helsinki. The unit will focus on biomedical applications for the cellulose nanofibril technology developed by UPM. At Biomedicum Helsinki, the UPM team will be working more closely with medical researchers and other operators in the field.
GrowDex®, UPM’s first commercial product developed for biomedical purposes, is a cellulose nanofibril hydrogel for 3D cell culture applications, such as pharmaceutical research and development. GrowDex® is highly biocompatible with human cells and tissues.
“Our Biofore strategy is based on the varied use of renewable wood biomass, combined with innovation, resource efficiency and responsibility. GrowDex® is a good example of the new wood-based materials that are being developed by UPM. Biomedical applications is a new and exciting field for us. Our product is currently being used for cell culture in research and there are more than 100 researchers outside UPM working on it globally. GrowDex® has a number of potential uses in biomedical applications,” says Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals.
By engaging in various bioeconomy projects, UPM drives business development and innovation in collaboration with its partners, which include other industrial companies, start-ups, research institutes and other entities. “Our partners are important to us for the commercialisation of new technologies and the development of new innovations. Working in collaboration with our partners allows us to be faster, more agile and more efficient,” Juuso Konttinen continues.
Biomedicum Helsinki is a leading environment that promotes medical research and training in Finland and supports cooperation between academia and industry. The centre provides working facilities for around 2,300 researchers, graduate students and support staff. It offers biomedical businesses modern facilities close to research organisations along with the special facilities and research services in the area. Successful cooperation has created a high-quality, international medical campus at Meilahti with an excellent basis for further development of operations and commercialisation of research results.
For further information please contact:
Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals, tel. +358 40 531 7405
UPM, Media Relations
tel. +358 40 588 3284
2016 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials – 13-16 June 2016 ♦ Grenoble, France
Registration is open! Get your early bird discount! REGISTER HERE!
Paper waste converted into eco-friendly aerogel
Known as “frozen smoke” because of their milky translucent appearance, aerogels are among the world’s lightest solid materials. Consisting of 99.8 percent air, they’re highly heat-resistant and are an excellent form of insulation. Now, scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have used paper waste to create one.
Previously, aerogels have been made mainly from silica, along with substances such as metal oxides, polymers, carbon nanotubes and graphene. The NUS technique is claimed to be considerably more environmentally-friendly, however, using less power, releasing less toxic emissions, and requiring less hazardous chemicals – plus it uses a material that might otherwise go into the landfill.
The “cost-effective” production process begins by mixing water with cellulose fibers, the latter obtained by mulching the paper. A cross-linking polymer resin is then added to the mixture, after which it’s sonicated – sonication is the process of using sound energy to agitate particles in a solution.
Next, the mixture is poured into molds and frozen at -18º C (0º F) for 24 hours, after which it’s freeze-dried at -98º C (-144º F) for two days. Finally, it’s cured in an oven at 120º C (248º F) for three hours. The final result is an opaque biodegradable material that is non-toxic, flexible, mechanically-strong and oil-absorbent.
When coated in methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS), the cellulose aerogel becomes very hydrophobic (water-repelling). This means that if it were placed in an oil spill, it could soak up as much as 90 times its dry weight in crude oil, without “filling up” on water. It could then be wrung out like a sponge, allowing over 99 percent of the absorbed oil to be recovered.
The material could also find use as wall insulation in buildings. Besides keeping heat contained within the structure, it would resist moisture buildup, add strength to the walls, and take up less space than traditional materials such as fiberglass wool. It might likewise be used as a form of protective packaging, or in wound-plugging medical sponges. When doped with metallic nanoparticles and hammered flat to remove its air content, the aerogel can additionally be converted into a mechanically-strong thin magnetic film.
If not coated in MTMS, the highly-porous aerogel does absorb water and other liquids, allowing for its use in products such as diapers or sanitary napkins.
The technology is being commercialized by materials company Bronxculture.
Exceptionally High-Energy Density Batteries made with Nanocellulose
Hetero-Nanonet Rechargeable Paper Batteries: Toward Ultrahigh Energy Density and Origami Foldability, by Sung-Ju Cho, Keun-Ho Choi, Jong-Tae Yoo, Jeong-Hun Kim, Yong-Hyeok Lee, Sang-Jin Chun, Sang-Bum Park, Don-Ha Choi, Qinglin Wu, Sun-Young Lee, and Sang-Young Lee
Advanced Functional Materials – First published: 10 September 2015 – Abstract
Forthcoming smart energy era is in strong pursuit of full-fledged rechargeable power sources with reliable electrochemical performances and shape versatility. Here, as a naturally abundant/environmentally friendly cellulose-mediated cell architecture strategy to address this challenging issue, a new class of hetero-nanonet (HN) paper batteries based on 1D building blocks of cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs)/multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) is demonstrated. The HN paper batteries consist of CNF/MWNT-intermingled heteronets embracing electrode active powders (CM electrodes) and microporous CNF separator membranes. The CNF/MWNT heteronet-mediated material/structural uniqueness enables the construction of 3D bicontinuous electron/ion transport pathways in the CM electrodes, thus facilitating electrochemical reaction kinetics. Furthermore, the metallic current collectors-free, CNF/MWNT heteronet architecture allows multiple stacking of CM electrodes in series, eventually leading to user-tailored, ultrathick (i.e., high-mass loading) electrodes far beyond those accessible with conventional battery technologies. Notably, the HN battery (multistacked LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 (cathode)/multistacked graphite (anode)) provides exceptionally high-energy density (=226 Wh kg−1 per cell at 400 W kg−1 per cell), which surpasses the target value (=200 Wh kg−1 at 400 W kg−1) of long-range (=300 miles) electric vehicle batteries. In addition, the heteronet-enabled mechanical compliance of CM electrodes, in combination with readily deformable CNF separators, allows the fabrication of paper crane batteries via origami folding technique.
New Alberta Innovates grants aimed at development of commercial applications of advanced biomaterial – cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)
EDMONTON, March 8, 2016 /CNW/ – Two AIberta Innovates corporations have teamed up to provide funding for R&D projects that advance the knowledge and use of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), an advanced biomaterial.
The new program, called CNC Challenge 2.0, is intended to support early-stage work to demonstrate technical feasibility of CNC in high-value applications with potential for commercialization.
Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) and Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF) will support up to eight projects, and provide each successful applicant with the following:
- Up to $25,000 in funding for their CNC project research.
- Up to one kilogram of CNC from AITF’s pilot plant.
- Access to AITF’s researchers, capacity and facilities.
- Researchers and developers at Canadian institutions, companies or other organizations are invited to submit proposals via the AI Bio website.
Successful projects have the potential for ongoing support toward commercialization.
CNC consists of nano-scale crystals made from cellulose (plant fibre), the most abundant organic polymer on earth. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, extremely strong and has other unique properties that offer exciting opportunities for a wide range of commercial applications.
Alberta has one of the few pilot plants in the world capable of producing high-quality CNC in kilogram volumes. The plant is located on AITF’s premises in Edmonton. Current leading-edge research in the province includes the development of CNC applications in the fields of energy, health, industrial coatings, electronics and the environment.
“This is an excellent opportunity for small- and medium-sized enterprises to gain funding and material for their nanotech-related research,” said Gordon Giles, director of forestry at AITF. “I’m particularly excited at the prospect of providing researchers and developers with high-quality cellulose nanocrystals made at our Edmonton pilot plant.”
“The first CNC Challenge funding program (1.0) yielded several interesting projects,” noted Christine Murray, director of agricultural technologies at AI Bio. “We look forward to seeing other creative uses for CNC come forward which take advantage of its unique properties and great potential.”
About Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions
Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions is a research agency funded by the Government of Alberta. We invest in science and innovation to grow prosperity in Alberta’s agriculture, food and forest sectors. We routinely work with R&D partners on research and innovation projects in the areas of sustainable production, bioindustrial innovation, food innovation, ecosystem services and prion diseases. Visit bio.albertainnovates.ca.
About Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures
Part of Alberta’s research and innovation system, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF) is helping build healthy, sustainable businesses in the province. Through a suite of programs and services for entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, post-secondary institutions and investors, AITF provides technical services and funding support to facilitate the commercialization of technologies, develop new knowledge-based industry clusters and encourage an entrepreneurial culture in Alberta.
SOURCE Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions
Image with caption: “Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions (CNW Group/Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160308_C6910_PHOTO_EN_637302.jpg
Image with caption: “Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (CNW Group/Alberta Innovates – Bio Solutions)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160308_C6910_PHOTO_EN_637304.jpg
For further information: Program contacts: Steve Price, Executive Director, Bioindustrial Innovation, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, email@example.com, Tel: (780) 427-2567; Christine Murray, PhD, Director, Agricultural Technologies, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (403) 382-7188; Gordon Giles, Director, Forestry, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, email@example.com, Tel: (780) 450-5411; Marlene Huerta, PhD, Principal Business Advisor, Nano Programs, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (780) 450-5034
Melodea Wins Nanotechnology Innovation of the Year Award at NanoIsrael 2016
REHOVOT, Israel, Mar. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Melodea Ltd., a leader in development of nano-crystalline cellulose based products, announced today that it has won the Nanotechnology Innovation of the Year Award at the NanoIsrael 2016 conference.
Melodea developed a proprietary technology for the economically viable industrial-scale extraction of nano crystalline cellulose (NCC) from side streams of the paper industry and wood pulp. In addition, the Company develops unique technologies for producing NCC based materials such as high oxygen barrier films for packaging, additives for packaging materials, water-based adhesives, paints and ecologically-friendly foams for composites, transportation and construction.
NCC generates much excitement due to its unique properties, and is considered the new high-tech material of the forest industry. It bears a huge promise as a green and safe alternative to fossil oil based materials. NCC is abundant, renewable and produced from waste of the paper industry. In Europe alone, eleven million tons of paper production waste is produced annually.
Future uses of NCC are expected to include production of high-performance reinforcing materials, biodegradable plastic bags and textiles; electrically conductive paper; new drug-delivery technologies; transparent flexible displays and even as part of the food industry.
Melodea was founded by Professor Oded Shoseyov and Dr. Shaul Lapidot both from the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with Mr. Tord Gustafsson, a Swedish industrialist and expert in the composites industry, as a spin-off of Yissum, the technology transfer company of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Company has a strategic collaboration with Holmen, a leading Swedish manufacturer in the forest based sector, which is also one of its major shareholders. The launch of Europe’s first NCC pilot facility, located in Sweden and based on the Melodea’s technology, is expected by the end of 2016.
Dr. Shaul Lapidot, Co-founder & CEO, Melodea, stated, “We are honored to be chosen by a panel of experts as the best nanotechnology innovation of the year. In the past year, we have made significant advancements in collaboration with our strategic partner, towards commercialization of our NCC based technology for production of novel eco-friendly materials.”
Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, commented, “Melodea encompasses a winning combination of outstanding technology originating from the Hebrew University with a leading international industry partner. The company, that was founded and operates within the University, reflects the innovation and attractiveness of nanotechnologies originating from the Hebrew University. “
NCC is produced by processing wood pulp, and is considered the new, environmentally-friendly and sustainable option for a variety of materials, including plastic and metal. NCC is transparent, strong, cost-effective, and safer than non-organic alternatives.
For additional information, please visit http://www.melodea.eu/
IMERYS and Omya in negotiations to form a Joint Venture to promote R&D on Micro Fibrillated Cellulose (MFC)
IMERYS Press Release – PARIS, FEBRUARY 26, 2016
IMERYS S.A. and Omya AG are pleased to announce they have entered into exclusive negotiations to form a 50:50 technology Joint Venture to promote the research and development of Micro Fibrillated Cellulose (MFC) concerning a variety of applications and industries. The venture will combine the FiberLeanTM and Omya’s MFC technology platforms developed by each company into one entity, henceforth to be known as FiberLeanTM
The first commercial product available, which has already been granted a Food Contact Notification (FCN) by the US Food and Drug Administration, allows paper & packaging producers to improve quality and/or increase the mineral filler loading to achieve productivity gains and reduced costs.
The commercialization of MFC is to be independently and separately undertaken by IMERYS and Omya commercial teams making the technology easily accessible to customers across various industries.
Micro and Nano Cellulosics are renewable, sustainable engineered materials with the potential to deliver exceptional performance and value to a wide range of industrial and consumer markets. FiberLeanTM Technologies will expand its process and application technology to deliver such products and solutions.
Analyst/Investor relations: Vincent Gouley – + 33 (0)1 49 55 64 69 email@example.com
Press contacts: Vincent Gouley – + 33 (0)1 49 55 64 69, Philémon Tassel – + 33 (0)6 30 10 96 11, Sarah Fornier – + 33 (0)7 87 40 83 50
Nanotech France 2016 Conference and Exhibition
NANOTECH FRANCE 2016 International Conference and Exhibition
01 Jun – 03 Jun 2016 | Paris – France – Resister here!
Nanotech France 2016 brings together leading scientists, researchers, engineers, practitioners, technology developers and policy makers in nanotechnology to exchange information on their latest research progress and innovation.
Participants from the top international academic, government and private industry labs of different disciplines participate in Nanotech France 2016 to identify new technology trends, development tools, product opportunities, R&D collaborations, and commercialization partners. It is an excellent event for students to meet and discuss with lead researchers. The conference provides an unprecedented opportunity to discover innovation in the area of nanotechnology and new business opportunities. It is among the most important events in terms of international regulatory policies and it is open to the participation of private companies.
The conference covers all frontier topics in nanotechnology. The conference includes plenary lectures, Keynote lectures and invited talks by eminent personalities from around the world in addition to contributed papers both oral and poster presentations.
The Nanotech France 2016 conference topics include:
Nanomaterials Fabrication, Characterization and Tools
Nanotech for Energy and Environment
Nanotech in Life Sciences and Medicine
For the details of the above topics, please refer to the Conference Topics page.
Full Conference Program here.
Nanocellulose as a Food Additive
Cellulose nanofibers (CNF) as well as cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are being investigated by a number of research laboratories including Innventia (Sweden) and Borregaard (Norway), among others. Nanocellulose shows promise as a stabilizer for oils in water emulsions and foams containing high amounts of dissolved sugar. When added to dough, nanocellulose makes bread with higher volume and even form. Nanocellulose has also been added to hamburger to improve the moister retention during frying.
Lastly, nanocellulose from coconuts has been commercialized as a low-calorie, high dietary fiber additive in fruit flavored drinks by a number of companies in the far east. The nanocellulose product is called nata de coco. Nata de coco can also be enjoyed as a mixture of iced fruit, compote, custard, ice cream, fruit cocktail, candy, or desert.
Napier University honored with Queen’s Anniversary Prize
25 February 2016 – Edinburgh News, Scotland
EDINBURGH Napier University’s acclaimed work in timber engineering was recognized at Buckingham Palace today with the award of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
Professor Andrea Nolan, the University’s Principal, accepted the prize medal from Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of the Queen.
The award recognizes the impact of the University’s research into sustainable construction and wood science and its influence on industry and the environment.
The illustrious higher education prize has only been awarded 15 times before in Scotland, but this is the second triumph for the University’s School of Engineering and the Built Environment following a previous success in 2009.
The University’s research and support of new products is worth more than £65 million a year to the UK timber and construction industry. Successes include a collaboration with South African Paper and Pulp Industries which led to the development of a new nanocellulose high strength material from wood fibers which can be used in applications ranging from car panels to wound care and packaging.
Industry consortia used the University’s research findings to help in the design and construction of the award-winning athletes’ village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and staff have also played a prominent role in education programs, public engagement and developing industry standards.
Professor Sean Smith, Director of Edinburgh Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, who accompanied the Principal at the ceremony, said: “We are delighted to have our applied research and its impact recognized through this award. Scotland’s forest industries now account for £1 billion to the economy. New products and increasing innovation by the sector and our University research staff now plan to double this value to the sector in the coming years.”
The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are awarded every two years to universities and colleges which submit work judged to show excellence, innovation, impact and benefit for the institution itself and for the wider world.
The entry can be in any field or discipline and it is for the institution to decide whether or not it wishes to participate in any round.
In this 11th round of the prestigious awards, 21 UK universities and colleges have been awarded prizes recognising a wide range of innovative work across a variety of disciplines.
The current round represents a landmark achievement for Scotland’s capital, with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University also flying the flag for Scotland, being honoured for their work on coronary heart disease and innovations in the oil and gas sector respectively.
The 2014-2016 round is the eleventh round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes. The first round was announced in 1994. The Prize itself consists of a silver gilt medallion and a decorated and inscribed certificate granting the award, signed by The Queen.
The entry can be in any field or discipline and it is for the institution to decide whether or not it wishes to participate in any round.
In this 11th round of the prestigious awards, 21 UK universities and colleges have been awarded prizes recognizing a wide range of innovative work across a variety of disciplines.
The current round represents a landmark achievement for Scotland’s capital, with the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University also flying the flag for Scotland, being honored for their work on coronary heart disease and innovations in the oil and gas sector respectively.
The 2014-2016 round is the eleventh round of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes. The first round was announced in 1994. The Prize itself consists of a silver gilt medallion and a decorated and inscribed certificate granting the award, signed by The Queen.
Nano-cellulose water filters found to be highly effective
Filters of nano-cellulose have been tested in two Spanish factories and a Spanish water company, and are found to be highly effective. The tests conclude the EU-funded project Nano Select, led by Luleå University of Technology. Filters have been scaled up to the size needed to purify water from industry and public waterworks, providing positive health and environmental effects.
“The technology is ready and we have demonstrated through field trials that it works. Now it is up to industry to take over,” says Aji Mathew assistant professor at Luleå University of Technology who is coordinating the project Nano Select.
The last step in the project Nano Select was testing upscaled nano-filters at an factory for leather goods, at a water treatment plant in Spain, and in the Spanish water company Acondaqua Ingeniería del Aqua SL
Nano-filters are made from nanocellulose that is furled in a sheet of several layers. Nanofilter rolls (modules) are made of paper with a large suction capacity that is based on nano-cellulose and has very good properties compared to conventional industrial filters. They are biobased and biodegradable with very high performance. The composition of nanocellulose determines the filtration ability. The three different nano-filters that scientists tested have the ability to filter out the paint residues in the textile and printing industries, metal ions from the mining and steel industries and the nitrates present in the water supply.
The researchers delivered a filter of the correct size to fit filter housings and filter cartridges that are already used in industry. There is a great interest in the project’s findings. In addition to the forest industry, large companies like Swedish LKAB and the British retail giant Marks & Spencer are said to be interested.
“I’m beginning to talk to the Swedish paper industry to see if they are interested in starting a pilot project to optimize further and thus get filters commercially viable. From now on, the industry must take the initiative to scale up and lead the development from where our research stopped,” said Aji Mathew.
She believes that a commercialization process bringing the filters to market may take three to five years.
Cellulose Nanogenerators May Power Medical Implants
16 February 2016 – from NDTV
Indian scientists have developed a flexible nanogenerator out of cellulose that could power future implanted biomedical devices by harvesting energy from the human body.
Implantable electronics can deliver drugs, monitor vital signs and perform other health-related roles. But finding a way to power them remains a challenge.
Now, scientists from Department of Physics at Jadavpur University in Kolkata have built a flexible nanogenerator out of cellulose, an abundant natural material, that could potentially harvest energy from the body – its heartbeats, blood flow and other almost imperceptible but constant movements.
Efforts to convert the energy of motion – from footsteps, ocean waves, wind and other movement sources – are well underway, researchers wrote in American Chemical Society’s journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.
“Basically cellulose is natural materials, purified form of wood, where few compounds such as hemicellulose and lignin are removed,” Dipankar Mandal, Assistant Professor of Department of Physics Organic Nano-Piezoelectric Device Laboratory told PTI.
“Since our biomedical device (Cellulose nanogenerator) is made with cellulose, thus major importance/significance of our research work is it is naturally abundant. As a result the cost of the device will be very less that would be affordable by common people,” said Mr Mandal.
“It is expected that this type of wood made biomedical device can be very much useful for health-care monitoring that could be operated from home, so the initial health checkup can be very easily and regular manner,” he said.
Many of these developing technologies are designed with the goal of powering everyday gadgets and even buildings. As such, they do not need to bend and are often made with stiff materials.
However, to power biomedical devices inside the body, a flexible generator could provide more versatility. So Mr Mandal and his student Mehebub Alam at Jadavpur University set out to design one.
The researchers turned to cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer on Earth, and mixed it in a simple process with a kind of silicone called polydimethylsiloxane – the stuff of breast implants – and carbon nanotubes.
Repeated pressing on the resulting nanogenerator lit up about two dozen LEDs instantly.
It also charged capacitors that powered a portable Liquid-crystal-display (LCD), a calculator and a wrist watch.
Since cellulose is non-toxic, the researchers said the device could potentially be implanted in the body and harvest its internal stretches, vibrations and other movements.
Finnish SME’s boosting development of new fibre products with VTT and Lahti University of Applied Sciences
16 February 2016 – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland – from VTT
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and Lahti University of Applied Sciences will develop optimised product properties for fibre products and biocomposites that have been manufactured using a foam-forming technology. The objective of the NoMa project that started in the autumn is to create new business for those small and medium-sized enterprises involved in the project. VTT’s new inventions support the targets of the project.
The study examines what kinds of product ideas, product properties and design possibilities will be achieved by combining materials with, for example, nanocellulose, hemp or cost-efficient side streams with the help of the newest technologies.
The NoMa project will develop new properties for biocomposites and thick fibre foam structures by means of an optimal combination of long natural fibres, fines, nanofibres and polymers. By combining nanocellulose, hemp stem or bast fibre into thick fibre foam structures and biocomposites, the durability and water resistance of fibre products can be improved, or colour and shine can be created to biocomposites. Nano-sized hemp will make a product stronger and lighter and can also improve the water resistance of products.
It is a vision of the companies that are involved in the project of VTT and Lahti University of Applied Sciences to manufacture, for example, wall materials that absorb sound, decorative panels, growth platforms or interior material for packages to replace polystyrene.
New inventions from VTT
According to research carried out by VTT, proteins can be used in strengthening the structure of materials: proteins form thin films on the interfaces of foam bubbles that strengthen porous structures. VTT is applying for a patent for the method. Proteins used in the invention are hydrophobins, surface-active proteins produced by mycelium mats, which form strong elastic films on air/water interfaces.
VTT has also submitted a patent application for a method in which microscale fine containing lignin is manufactured directly from fresh wood by grinding. Fines that can be produced easily and inexpensively can, for example, be used for manufacturing biocomposites and foam structures when the goal is to improve the interaction and strength properties of materials.
Elastic fibre structures as vision
Besides development possibilities in the coming years, the project also sets development targets further into the future.
“In ten years, it will be possible to develop elastic fibre structures with the help of new innovative material combinations. Our vision is to develop compact reversible materials for products that will spring into their full size for use,” says Senior Scientist Katariina Torvinen from VTT.
The Institute of Design and Fine Arts, which is part of the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, is involved in the project by bringing a new design perspective into the design of products.
Companies involved in the project represent various production phases ranging from raw materials, pre-treatment and modification of materials, material processing, and manufacturing end products.
Project partners: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Lahti University of Applied Sciences; small and medium-sized enterprises 3D Formtech Oy, 3DTech Oy, Ahosen Taimisto Oy, Brainwood Oy, C.O. Panu Isokangas Oy, Earthpac Oy, Novarbo Oy, Epira Oy, Hikinoro Oy, Swanheart Design Oy and FL-Pipe Oy, and major corporations Metsä Board Oyj and Metsä Fibre.
The NoMa project (Novel structural materials with multi-scale fibre components) that is part of Tekes’ Green Growth programme will be implemented on the basis of the needs of the companies involved. The project started in the autumn, and will be completed on 30 November 2017. The total budget is about EUR 1.3 million. The most important funding bodies of the project are Tekes and VTT.
For more information, please contact:
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Senior Scientist Katariina Torvinen
tel. +358 40 1973533, firstname.lastname@example.org
Water-based cleaner method for producing rod-like thermally stable cellulose nanocrystals
14 February 2016 – Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Recently both filament-like and rod-like nanocellulose particles gain incredible attention from both academia and industry. Contemporary protocols for producing rod-like or needle-like low aspect ratio nanocrystals involve acid hydrolysis and/or in combination with mechanical, enzymatic and ultrasonic treatments. Commercial realization is still limited by the use of large amount of strong acids, poor production yield and the low thermal stability. Researchers at UQ have reported the production of cellulose nanocrystals via high-energy ball milling (HEBM) as a scalable method. The importance of this article comes from both the clean and green method, scalability, and the production yield of cellulose nanocrystals.
The nanocrystals produced from microscale cellulose possessed similar rod-like shape of typical acid hydrolysed cellulose nanocrystals, but with enhanced thermal stability. Importantly, this method mainly requires only the deionized water as media without employing any acids or solvents and huge savings in cost and time. In terms of the processing, in HEBM method apparently, only one processing step needed which is wet-milling and subsequently direct to the drying process to obtain CNC powder. These CNC nanoparticles can be easily processed at elevated temperature with most of the thermoplastics.
Khairatun Najwa Mohd Amin, Pratheep Kumar Annamalai, Isabel Catherine Morrow and Darren Martin, “Production of cellulose nanocrystals via a scalable mechanical method,” RSC Adv., 2015,5, 57133-57140, First published online 25 Jun 2015
Nanocellulose opens doors for more sustainable products
Feb 12, 2016 – Purdue Exponent
A research group at Purdue is using cellulose’s properties to make more sustainable products like laminated films.
This group, led by Jeff Youngblood, professor in materials engineering, works with nanocellulose fibers to make stronger and more renewable materials than glass.
According to Youngman Yoo, a third-year graduate student in Youngblood’s research group, traditional plastics are usually made from petroleum, and making and disposing of them takes up a lot of energy.
“Plastic is very useful; we can’t live without it,” Yoo said. “However, we should know it is a main factor of carbon dioxide emission.”
To reduce this emission, many scientists and engineers are trying to develop bioplastics. Youngblood’s group, in particular, is developing them from spinning nanocellulose fibers.
“It turns out that a (plant) cell wall has multiple layers, with fibers running in different directions in a matrix,” Youngblood said. “Nature figured out how to do this half a billion years before humans. It’s actually optimized as a pressure vessel, which helps its rigidity.”
Keeping these properties in mind, Youngblood then decided to use cellulose to make nanocomposites, which are then used to make laminated films and, in one special case, pins for the U.S. Forest Service. “We were trying to drum up support for commercialization in nanocellulose,” Youngblood said.
Nanocellulose can also be given barrier properties to prevent oxygen or water transmission in food packaging and good “wet strength,” or better strength when immersed in water. Paper, for example, does not have good “wet strength.”
“We can make films that have half the elastic modulus of glass, even though it’s a polymer,” Youngblood said. He also added that nanocellulose fibers are similar to glass fibers, except they are stiffer and stronger. These polymer fibers can be spun to make textiles and other products.
“We are trying to replace glass fiber,” Youngblood said.
Francisco Montes, another student working with Youngblood, is working on cellulose nanocrystal characterization, which varies depending on how it’s dispersed in water. Nanocrystals can be dispersed in water and can only be seen through a special filter.
“Cellulose nanocrystals show potential advantages when mixed with inorganic particles, offering a sustainable alternative to some industrial processes,” Montes said.
Youngblood hopes to someday commercialize these products because of their sustainability and many properties. Fiberglass cannot be recycled but nanocellulose fibers can since they are organic. Shane Peng, a fourth-year graduate student in Youngblood’s group, also agrees.
“Nanocellulose (has an) intriguing combination of mechanical, thermal and optical properties, and it (has) vast potentials in different applications such as polymer composite, biomedical devices, electronics, membranes, etc.” Peng said. “(Our research) is also for a good cause as we are trying to improve the sustainability of commercial polymers while enhancing their properties at the same time by utilizing nanocellulose.”
Implant materials: Reducing wear debris
ACS Nano, 2016, 10 (1), pp 298–306 – Ai Lin Chun – Nature Nanotechnology – Published 03 February 2016
Total joint replacements frequently fail because wear debris from the prosthesis, which is typically made of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, can trigger an immune response. To prevent this, scientists formed a composite of polyethylene and cellulose nanocrystals as a strengthener to increase the wear resistance to minimize the wear debris.
Shiwen Wang†‡, Qiang Feng†, Jiashu Sun*†, Feng Gao†, Wei Fan†, Zhong Zhang†, Xiaohong Li*‡, and Xingyu Jiang*†
† Beijing Engineering Research Center for BioNanotechnology & CAS Key Laboratory for Biological Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, National Center for NanoScience and Technology, 11 Beiyitiao, ZhongGuanCun, Beijing 100190, China
‡ Key Laboratory of Advanced Technologies of Materials, Ministry of Education of China, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu 610031, China
Abstract – The doping of biocompatible nanomaterials into ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) to improve the biocompatibility and reduce the wear debris is of great significance to prolonging implantation time of UHMWPE as the bearing material for artificial joints. This study shows that UHMWPE can form a composite with nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC, a hydrophilic nanosized material with a high aspect ratio) by ball-milling and hot-pressing. Compared to pure UHMWPE, the NCC/UHMWPE composite exhibits improved tribological characteristics with reduced generation of wear debris. The underlying mechanism is related to the weak binding between hydrophilic NCC and hydrophobic UHMWPE. The hydrophilic, rigid NCC particles tend to detach from the UHMWPE surface during friction, which could move with the rubbing surface, serve as a thin lubricant layer, and protect the UHMWPE substrate from abrasion. The biological safety of the NCC/UHMWPE composite, as tested by MC3T3-E1 preosteoblast cells and macrophage RAW264.7 cells, is high, with significantly lower inflammatory responses/cytotoxicity than pure UHMWPE. The NCC/UHMWPE composite therefore could be a promising alternative to the current UHMWPE for bearing applications.
Native grass could be key to super-thin condoms
Fibres from the Australian native spinifex grass are being used to improve latex that could be used to make condoms as thin as a human hair without any loss in strength.
Working in partnership with Aboriginal traditional owners of the Camooweal region in north-west Queensland, the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People, researchers from The University of Queensland have developed a method of extracting nanocellulose – which can be used as an additive in latex production – from the grass.
Professor Darren Martin from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) said the spinifex nanocellulose significantly improved the physical properties of latex.
“The great thing about our nanocellulose is that it’s a flexible nano-additive, so we can make a stronger and thinner membrane that is supple and flexible, which is the holy grail for natural rubber,” Professor Martin said.
“We tested our latex formulation on a commercial dipping line in the United States and conducted a burst test that inflates condoms and measures the volume and pressure, and on average got a performance increase of 20 per cent in pressure and 40 per cent in volume compared to the commercial latex control sample,” he said.
“With a little more refinement, we think we can engineer a latex condom that’s about 30 per cent thinner, and will still pass all standards, and with more process optimisation work we will be able to make devices even thinner than this.
“Late last year we were able to get down to about 45 microns on our very first commercial dipping run, which is around the width of the hair on your head.”
Professor Martin said the benefits of the nanocellulose technology would interest latex manufacturers across the multi-billion-dollar global market.
“Rather than looking at increasing the strength, companies would be looking to market the thinnest, most satisfying prophylactic possible,” he said.
“Likewise, it would also be possible to produce latex gloves that are just as strong, but thinner, giving a more sensitive feel and less hand fatigue to users such as surgeons.
“Because you would also use less latex, your material cost in production would potentially drop as well, making it even more attractive to manufacturers.”
Professor Martin said spinifex had long been used as an effective adhesive by indigenous communities in Australia.
“Spinifex resins have been used traditionally for attaching spear heads to their wooden shafts,” he said.
UQ and the Dugalunji Aboriginal Corporation have signed an agreement to recognise local Aboriginal traditional owners’ knowledge about spinifex and to ensure that they will have ongoing equity and involvement in the commercialisation of the nanocellulose technology.
DAC Managing Director Colin Saltmere said the technology provides an opportunity for the partners to establish themselves as leaders in the area of spinifex harvesting and processing and the supply of a range of nanocellulose and other spinifex-derived products.
“There are strong hopes of cultivating and processing spinifex grass on a commercial scale, bringing economic opportunities to the remote areas across Australia where it thrives,” Mr Saltmere said.
“We’re very excited by the prospects of commercialising the technology to provide an entirely new industry to regional Australia.”
AIBN’s Dr Nasim Amiralian said the nanocellulose could be converted from spinifex using an efficient chemistry method.
“You would firstly hedge the grass, and then it would be chopped up and pulped with sodium hydroxide – and at that stage it just looks like paper pulp,” Dr Amiralian said.
“Then you hit it with mechanical energy to force it through a very small hole under high pressure to peel the nano-fibres apart from the pulp, into nanocellulose happily suspended in water and ready to add to things like water-based rubber latex,” she said.
UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said innovation delivered its greatest impact when translated into tangible solutions that created positive change, and the spinifex project was a prime example.
“Research like this has great potential to make a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS and other global issues in healthcare,” Professor Høj said.
“At the heart of our research at UQ, we are aiming to harness research insights to engineer the next-generation of products and solutions, build on global knowledge capital, and generate funding for further innovation.”
“This completes the laboratory-to-market lifecycle that can deliver benefits to millions, taking excellence to what we call Excellence Plus, and through that we aim to create change.”
UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest has provided support for the development of the nanocellulose technology and funding through its Pathfinder initiative.
Media: Darius Koreis, email@example.com, +61 7 3346 3962, +61 427 148 187; Professor Darren Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org, +61 7 3346 3870 (Monday) or 0433 968 625 (Tuesday and Wednesday before 8am). In Professor Martin’s absence, call Dr Nasim Amiralian on 07 3346 3862.
High aspect ratio cellulose nanofibers from Australian grass as a precursor for carbon fibers.
Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia recently identified a new lignocellulosic source from Australian desert grassland that can be easily deconstructed into cellulose nanofibres. These cellulose nanofibres have very high aspect ratios. Equally important, they can be produced at very low cost since they are deconstructed form the grass with the lowest mechanical energy consumption reported in the literature to date. When they compared their material with other nanofibres from both academic and commercial sources, they were surprised to see the unusually high aspect ratio of approximately 500 via mechanical method. Typically the aspect ratios fall below 200 with other sources and average 144 from production using the acid hydrolysis method. They have published their results in two separate papers (1) RSC Advances Issue 41, 2015: “Easily deconstructed, high aspect ratio cellulose nanofibres from Triodia pungens; an abundant grass of Australia’s arid zone,” by Nasim Amiralian, Pratheep K. Annamalai, Paul Memmott, Elena Taran, Susanne Schmidtd and Darren J. Martin, and (2) Cellulose, August 2015, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 2483-2498: “Isolation of cellulose nanofibrils from Triodia pungens via different mechanical methods,” by Nasim Amiralian, Pratheep K. Annamalai, Paul Memmott, and Darren J. Martin.
Abstract – Triodia pungens is one of the 69 species of an Australian native arid grass which covers approximately 27 % of the Australian landmass. In this study, we report that very long and thin cellulose nanofibrils can readily be isolated from Triodia pungens biomass using unrivalled mild chemical pulping, followed by several mechanical fibrillation methods. After a typical pulping process which includes washing, delignification and bleaching steps, mechanical fibrillation was performed via high pressure homogenization, ultrasonication and high energy ball milling using relatively minimal energy in all approaches. Cellulose nanofibrils with an average diameter of below 10 nm and a length of several microns were obtained. It also has been shown that the nanofibrils obtained from Triodia pungens have a crystallinity index of about 69 %, and a thermal stability of up to 320 °C. The sheets produced from high aspect ratio nanofibrils prepared by high pressure homogenization, also demonstrated a very high work at fracture. By evaluating the deconstruction strategies and the performance of nanofibril sheets, we report that the high-performance cellulose nanofibrils can be processed from arid grass bleached pulp with unusually low energy input.
High performance sustainable carbon fibers from Australian spinifex grass
Researchers (Drs. Darren Marten, Pratheep Kumar Annamalai, and Bronwyn Laycock) from the University of Queensland Australia are presently working on producing carbon fiber from cellulose nanofibers made from grasses.
Abstract (on University of Queensland’s website): Spinifex grasses cover ~30% of our Australian continent, in the driest regions. We have found that, presumably because of this harsh environment, they are uniquely easy to break down into ultra-long, thin cellulose nanofibrils. Through the use of novel catalysts and advanced processing techniques, this project will take advantage of this trait to deliver the cost-effective production of high strength, sustainable carbon fibres from nanocellulose. The use of the world’s first university based research facility capable of producing high quality carbon fibre (CarbonNexus) will ensure the product is industrially relevant, with real potential to capture a share of the $14B carbon-fibre-composite.
VTT invents a new bio-based mineral oil barrier film for food packaging
Global breakfast cereal market is expected to reach $43.2 billion by 2019. Breakfast cereals are typically packaged in paper and board packaging with or without inner bags and consumed without further processing. The safety issue of mineral oil migration into foodstuffs started in 2011. Five years later, after recently released study by Foodwatch, the fuss is here again. Based on the results of 120 dry food products collected from France, Germany and the Netherlands, the concerns among consumers are well-justified. 83% of tested products contained mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and 43% contained mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). Exposure to mineral oil residues from migration into breakfast cereals packaged in recycled paper and board without a barrier to migration may contribute significantly to the total dietary exposure, especially with small children. VTT has tackled this issue by developing totally bio-based mineral oil barrier bags. The 2-layer film can be used as a ‘bag-in-box’ liner for dry foods such as breakfast cereals. Currently, fossil-based HDPE film is used as a major raw material for such inner bags. However, HDPE is very poor barrier against migration of mineral oil components. Polyethylene inner bags typically first adsorb hydrocarbons and later release them towards the food. By using VTT’s SutCo pilot coating line and new patent pending technology (PCT/FI2016/5075), the mineral oil migration can be decreased down to acceptable level and not only the human health but also the environmental safety aspects will be fully addressed. Bio-based barrier bags prepared from Tempo-CNF coated bio-HDPE film protected the content to a great extent from mineral oil migration. There was no evidence of any leakages through heat-sealed areas of bags and completely transparent films behaved faultlessly during processing. Very low migration of each mineral oil component was obtained with Tempo-CNF coatings. Migration after 7 days at 23°C for n-decane, isobutylbenzene, 1-cyclohexylbutane, 1-cyclohexylheptane and 1-cyclohexyldecane was 207, 173, 125, 13 and 1 mg/kg respectively. Significant reduction (>>90%) was attained as compared to non-coated bio-HDPE and other commercial cereal bag films.
Commercial applications of micro-fibrillar cellulose (MFC) in personal care products
The consumer products industry has commercialized the use of micro-fibrillar cellulose (MFC) in hair care, skin care and sun protection lotion. It was discovered that MFC can be used to provide suspension of particulates in surfactant-thickened systems with or without co-agents. This invention uses surfactants to achieve a very thick (highly viscous) system at high shear rates with particulates suspended by using MFC. The MFC is present at concentrations from about 0.05% to about 1.0%, but the concentration will depend on the desired product. Particulates can be suspended with the help of the MFC. These particulates include aesthetic agents (decorative beads, air bubbles, fragrance beads, etc.) or active ingredients (insoluble enzymes, encapsulated actives such as moisturizers, zeolites, exfoliating agents (e.g. alpha hydroxyl and/or glycolic acids or polyethylene beads), vitamins (e.g. vitamin E) etc. or both.
MFC has demonstrated the ability to reduce wrinkles and improve the sensoric characteristics of oil-in-water creams. MFC also exhibits pseudoplastic nature that gives a highly positive effect on the ability to spray thick formulations and its rapis viscosity recovery improves the non-dripping performance. The reason behind MFC’s excellent performance is its unique combination of characteristics from soluble polymers and insoluble particles, enabling it to both physically and chemically interact with its surroundings. There are a number of advantages using MFC. It increases the ability to spray thick formulations due to its extreme shear thinning and fast viscosity recovery. MFC also improves stability by enhancing the particle dispersion and stabilization. MFC provides an anti-wrinkle effect. It has a high tolerance of other ingredients such as salt and ethanol. Skin feels better as it is smooth, non-greasy and has improved skin moisturizing. It also improves the hair conditioning effect as well as improves the effect for decorative cosmetics. MFC is cold process-able and easy to pump.
For details, please see US Patent Application: US 20150240191 A1 – Personal care products comprising microfibrous cellulose and methods of making the same.
Hydrolytic activities of artificial nanocellulose synthesized via phosphorylase-catalyzed enzymatic reactions
Takeshi Serizawa, Mari Kato, Hiromichi Okura, Toshiki Sawada and Masahisa Wada
Polym J advance online publication, January 13, 2016; doi:10.1038/pj.2015.125
Artificial sheet-like nanocelluloses composed of cellulose oligomers with the cellulose II allomorph were synthesized by phosphorylase-catalyzed enzymatic reactions, and their hydrolytic activities against ester substrates were characterized. The as-prepared nanocelluloses exhibited relatively low hydrolytic activities. However, distorted and smaller nanocelluloses with larger surface areas, which were prepared by sonication-based mechanical treatment of the as-prepared nanocelluloses, exhibited significantly greater hydrolytic activities.
Papers on the Nanocellulose – Nanoclay Technology Used in Papermaking
Dr. Phil Jones of PhylloSci LLC provided three papers on the technology behind the Imerys papermaking invention using the combination of nanocellulose and nanoclays.
- Ionically interacting nanoclay and nanofibrillated cellulose lead to tough bulk nanocomposites in compression by forced self-assembly
- High-Strength Nanocellulose−Talc Hybrid Barrier Films
- Oriented Clay Nanopaper from Biobased Components – Mechanisms for Superior Fire Protection Properties
They were all published in 2013. Consequently, they have been archived on the 2013 page.
Researchers create plant-based fire-resistant material for auto, aircraft parts
January 12, 2016 – KAZUYA GOTO – The Asahi Shimbun, AJW – Asia and Japan Watch
A team of scientists has developed a material made from plant cells and resin that is light, durable and fire-resistant, and is expected to find practical use in aircraft, railway and automobile parts.
“The fact that it is resistant to fire is critical,” said Masamitsu Funaoka, a professor of resource and environmental chemistry at Mie University’s Graduate School of Bioresources who led the research group. “Its range of application can be extended to aircraft, Shinkansen bullet train and more.”
Funaoka’s team studied the function of lignin, an organic polymer found in the walls of plant cells and cellulose nanofibers to develop “nanocellulose lignophenol composite (LNCC),” which completely integrates cellulose nanofibers within resin.
LNCC can be manufactured by simply letting cellulose nanofibers and resin react for a few minutes in ambient temperature and ambient pressure. The team also discovered that LNCC is resistant to fire.
Reinforced plastics with integrated glass fiber are costly to recycle. The integration of cellulose nanofiber can facilitate an ease of recycling. The challenge in commercialization, however, was that until the team’s discovery of LNCC, the integration of water-soluble cellulose nanofiber into water-insoluble resin was difficult.
Funaoka said that all land-based plants can be used in LNCC technology and that the next step is to find methods to mass-produce the material through experiments at a plant in Tokushima Prefecture.
Composite Material of Nanocellulose and Fibrous Clays, Method of Production and Use Thereof
Scientists at he Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas – CSIC) have synthesized a new stable composite material consisting of cellulose defibrated (nitrocellulose or nanocellulose) and fibrous particles or silicate fibers belonging to the family of fibrous clays (such as sepiolite and palygorskite or attapulgite).
World Patent Application Number: WO 2016001466 A1
Publication type: Application
Publication date: Jan 7, 2016
Filing date: Jun 30, 2015
Inventors: Hitzky Eduardo Ruiz, GALLEGO María Pilar ARANDA, COLOM Margarita María DARDER, DEL CAMPO RODRÍGUEZ BARBERO María del Mar GONZÁLEZ
Applicant: Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (Csic)
The invention relates to a stable composite material comprising defibrated cellulose and particles having a fibrous morphology or fibres of silicates belonging to the family of fibrous clays, interwoven nanometrically. Furthermore, the invention relates to a method for producing said composite material and the uses thereof as adsorbents, absorbents, thickening agents, food additives, catalyst supports, enzyme supports, drug supports, flame retardants and self-extinguishing materials, cement additives, special papers, elements of sensor materials, inter alia.
Engineering professors receive Air Force grant to develop new energy materials
Mindy Krause – January 11, 2016 = UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
Two Penn State engineering professors, Seong Kim, professor of chemical engineering and materials science and engineering, and Zoubeida Ounaies, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor of Mechanical Engineering, have been awarded a $695,000 grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to develop a new class of low-density energy materials.
The grant will support the investigation of nanocellulose, a crystalline solid substance obtained from plant matter, and its ability to produce electric energy when subjected to mechanical stress.
The goal of the study is to gain physical insights that will enable researchers to develop a new class of energy materials with the capacity to enhance energy sensing, actuation and storage across a number of applications that include personal health monitoring devices, critical infrastructure observation, and mobile power supply, among others.
Cellulose is a naturally abundant crystalline nanomaterial produced and deposited in the cell walls of plants. It can be isolated from wood and other vegetation in the form of nanocrystals and, due to its huge dipole movements, is expected to produce an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress — a term referred to as piezoelectricity.
“The hypothesis that cellulose is piezoelectric was first recognized in the 1950s but has not yet been measured properly or fully understood,” said Kim. “This is because most natural and artificially produced composite materials are arranged in anti-parallel or random orientations.”
Kim and Ounaies plan to develop efficient ways to attain parallel alignment of cellulose nanocrystals and investigate their intrinsic structure-property relationship.
Research findings could have significant impact on the defense, health care and energy industries.
The AFOSR grant supports a three-year research term, which was launched in December 2015. All interdisciplinary research is being conducted at Penn State’s University Park campus.
Phone: (814) 867-6225
Nanocellulose compositions and processes to produce same
American Process Inc. applied for a patent describing a method to produce nanocellulose with low sulfur content. Their process invention uses no sulfuric acid which results in a purer form of nanocellulose; either nanocrystals (CNC) or nanofibers (CNF).
World Patent Application Number: WO 2015200232 A2
Publication date: Dec 30, 2015
Filing date: Jun 23, 2015
Inventors: Theodora Retsina, Kimberly Nelson
Applicant: Api Intellectual Property Holdings, Llc
A composition comprising nanocellulose is disclosed, wherein the nanocellulose contains very low or essentially no sulfur content. The nanocellulose may be in the form of cellulose nanocrystals, cellulose nanofibrils, or both. The nanocellulose is characterized by a crystallinity of at least 80%, an onset of thermal decomposition of 300F or higher, and a low light transmittance over the range 400-700 nm. Other variations provide a composition comprising lignin-coated hydrophobic nanocellulose, wherein the nanocellulose contains very low or essentially no sulfur content. Some variations provide a composition comprising nanocellulose, wherein the nanocellulose contains about 0.1 wt% equivalent sulfur content, or less, as SO4 groups chemically or physically bound to the nanocellulose. In some embodiments, the nanocellulose contains essentially no hydrogen atoms (apart from hydrogen structurally contained in nanocellulose itself) bound to the nanocellulose. Various compositions, materials, and products may incorporate the nanocellulose compositions disclosed herein.
Read the entire Patent Application here: WO 2015200232 A2
Storing electricity in paper
January 5, 2016
Part of the research group at Laboratory of Organic Electronics: Jesper Edberg, Isak Engquist and Xavier Crispin.
Researchers at Linköping University’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Sweden, have developed power paper – a new material with an outstanding ability to store energy. The material consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer. The results have been published in Advanced Science.
One sheet, 15 centimetres in diameter and a few tenths of a millimetre thick can store as much as 1 F, which is similar to the supercapacitors currently on the market. The material can be recharged hundreds of times and each charge only takes a few seconds.
It’s a dream product in a world where the increased use of renewable energy requires new methods for energy storage – from summer to winter, from a windy day to a calm one, from a sunny day to one with heavy cloud cover.
”Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time. What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets,” says Xavier Crispin, professor of organic electronics and co-author to the article just published in Advanced Science.
Other co-authors are researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Innventia, Technical University of Denmark and the University of Kentucky.
The material, power paper, looks and feels like a slightly plasticky paper and the researchers have amused themselves by using one piece to make an origami swan – which gives an indication of its strength.
The structural foundation of the material is nanocellulose, which is cellulose fibres which, using high-pressure water, are broken down into fibres as thin as 20 nm in diameter. With the cellulose fibres in a solution of water, an electrically charged polymer (PEDOT:PSS), also in a water solution, is added. The polymer then forms a thin coating around the fibres.
”The covered fibres are in tangles, where the liquid in the spaces between them functions as an electrolyte,” explains Jesper Edberg, doctoral student, who conducted the experiments together with Abdellah Malti, who recently completed his doctorate.
The new cellulose-polymer material has set a new world record in simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons, which explains its exceptional capacity for energy storage. It also opens the door to continued development toward even higher capacity. Unlike the batteries and capacitors currently on the market, power paper is produced from simple materials – renewable cellulose and an easily available polymer. It is light in weight, it requires no dangerous chemicals or heavy metals and it is waterproof.
The Power Papers project has been financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation since 2012.
”They leave us to our research, without demanding lengthy reports, and they trust us. We have a lot of pressure on us to deliver, but it’s ok if it takes time, and we’re grateful for that,” says Professor Magnus Berggren, director of the Laboratory of Organic Electronics at Linköping University.
The new power paper is just like regular pulp, which has to be dehydrated when making paper. The challenge is to develop an industrial-scale process for this.
”Together with KTH, Acreo and Innventia we just received SEK 34 million from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research to continue our efforts to develop a rational production method, a paper machine for power paper,” says Professor Berggren.
Power paper – Four world records
The mixture consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer.
Mixing underway in the lab at Campus Norrköping. Here Jesper Edberg and Isak Engquist.
A vision of the future: we’ll soon be there.
Photo: Thor Balkhed and Abdellah Malti
Publication: An Organic Mixed Ion-Electron Conductor for Power Electronics, Abdellah Malti, Jesper Edberg, Hjalmar Granberg, Zia Ullah Khan, Jens W Andreasen, Xianjie Liu, Dan Zhao, Hao Zhang, Yulong Yao, Joseph W Brill, Isak Engquist, Mats Fahlman, Lars Wågberg, Xavier Crispin and Magnus Berggren. Advanced Science, DOI 10.1002/advs.201500305