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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Nanocellulose Pilot Plant

In August, 2012, the FPL unveiled a $1.7 million production facility for renewable, forest-based nanomaterials. This facility is the first of its kind in the United States and one that positions the laboratory as the country's leading producer of nanocellulose materials. Nanocellulose is simply wood fiber broken down to the nanoscale. For perspective, a nanometer is roughly one-millionth the thickness of an American dime. Materials at this minute scale have unique properties; nanocellulose-based materials can be stronger than Kevlar fiber and provide high strength properties with low weight. Applications for nanocellulose materials include use in lightweight armor and ballistic glass. Companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, and medical device industries also see high potential for these innovative materials.

The facility will support an emerging market for wood-derived renewable nanomaterials, helping to spur forest-based job growth and contribute an estimated $600 billion to the American economy by 2020. The U.S. and other nations will see numerous benefits from the commercialization of wood-derived cellulosic nanomaterials. Development and commercialization of new lightweight, high-performance wood-derived products can help reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the potential for rural manufacturing opportunities, including the creation of many new high-paying jobs. The Forest Product Lab's new facility will aid in the commercialization of these materials by providing researchers and early adopters of the technology with working quantities of forest-based nanomaterials.
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