A new public-private partnership aims to advance the development of the first US commercial facility producing cellulosic nanomaterial, a wood fiber broken down to the nanoscale.
The partnership, between the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the US Forest Service, builds on work done by the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. The partnership seeks to overcome technical barriers to large-scale wood-based nanotechnology processing, while filling gaps in the science and technology that are needed for commercialization.
Cellulosic nanomaterial is stronger and lighter weight when compared with materials it can replace. It is lower cost than similar nanomaterial and it is made from a renewable resource. Potential applications include ballistic glass replacements, body armor, auto and aerospace structural materials, flexible electronic circuits, solar panels and more.
USDA secretary Tom Vilsack says wood-based nanotechnology will create sustainable jobs and promote the invention of renewable products that have environmental benefits.
Initial funding comes from the Endowment and the Forest Service. The partnership is currently seeking additional public and private sector funding.
Late last week the USDA and DOE announced $8 million in research grants to develop non-food bioenergy feedstocks.