Nanocellulose is a material derived from wood fibres. It is exceptionally strrong on a par with Kevlar. However, in contrast to fossil-based material, nanocellulose is completely renewable. Previously, the production was too energy consuming to make the commercialisation of nanocellulose a viable option but through RISE this is now possible.
Nanocellulose (also called microfibrillated cellulose, MFC or nanofibrillated cellulose, NFC) has been around since the early 1980s. It is produced by delaminating cellulosic fibres in high-pressure homogenizers. Fully delaminated nanocellulose consists of long (1-2 micrometers) microfibrils (5-20 nm in diameter) and has the appearance of a highly viscous, shear-thinning transparent gel.
Applications for nanocellulose
There are a wide variety of potential applications for nanocellulose, e.g. manufacturing of both paper and board. Regarding paper/board, nanocellulose could be used as a strengthening agent in paper with a high filler content. Other areas of application may be surface sizing and coating, e.g. as a barrier material (against oxygen, water vapor, grease/oil) in food packaging.
Furthermore, there are applications in the fields of nanocomposites, non-caloric food thickeners, emulsion/dispersion, oil recovery applications, cosmetic/pharmaceutical applications, and applications in the electronics sector.