2017 looks exciting regarding the commercial use of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC). New industrial applications pop up regularly as the opportunities with MFC become clearer, and the availability of MFC improves. For example, MFC is known to strengthen composite materials, but the real value comes from the combination of properties that MFC can bring to certain applications, as demonstrated in the two examples below.
BillerudKorsnäs explores new technologies
BillerudKorsnäs has initiated a development project work to achieve strength properties in paperboard products while using less material. The effect is created by introducing microfibrillated cellulose into these products. A process they call light weighting. They perform the tests together with us here at Borregaard.
The BillerudKorsnäs’ CTO, Magnus Wikström, said: “By adding MFC we want to explore how to further improve our world-class materials to make them even more competitive against their main competitor, fossil-based plastic packaging. That is how we increase our positive contribution from a sustainability standpoint. We are enthusiastic over our cooperation with Borregaard and with them as our supplier of MFC in this development program.”
It will be fascinating to follow this application and see if the microfibrillated cellulose can replace fossil-based plastic packaging.
Revolution Research making biobased ceiling tiles using nanocellulose
Revolution Research, located in Maine (US), try to design a new type of ceiling tiles for roofing purposes. These tiles are designed utilizing the performance of nanocellulose. Revolution Research received funding for this, being part of a 1,3 mn USD funding to 13 Small Business Innovation Reseach projects (SBIR). The tiles are designed for improved durability, non-hazardousness, and compostability (biodegradability). Also, Revolution Research hopes that the tiles will show higher insulation properties than currently available products. In addition to developing these tiles, the company is also designing a process to treat the ceiling using non-hazardous enhancements (Lexology.com).
This kind of industrial appliance innovation is, in my opinion, a great step towards providing the end-user with more environmentally friendly solutions. Microfibrillated cellulose may function well - with its barrier characteristics, ability to structure, and ability to build strength.
The Exilva blog team wishes everybody working with, or interested in, microfibrillated cellulose products a prosperous 2017.