NANOCELLULOSE: Technology, Applications and Markets

An analysis of the nanocellulose industry and the road ahead with a forecast to 2025.

NANOCELLULOSE: technology, applications and markets

Included in the study:

  • Review of the evolution of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF)
  • Review of the development of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) based materials
  • Issues and implications for users and processors of CNC and CNF
  • Review of research papers
  • Review of c. 200 patents and patent applications – all hyperlinked
  • Review of markets and analysis of market potential
  • More than 60 pages of profiles of the organizations researching or producing nanocellulose
  • Forecast of nanocellulose production to 2025

May 2014: Nanocellulose: transformational new material from the forest products industry

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The demand for paper in the western world is declining, presenting a challenge for the forest products industry to develop new revenue streams. One possibility, in which the industry has long been conducting research, is the modification of cellulose and lignin for new product applications. That research combined with recent developments in nanotechnology has resulted in nanocellulose, a material composed of nanosized cellulose particles with a high length to width ratio. The unique properties of this revolutionary material allow it to be used in numerous applications including:

  • Strengthening paper, paperboard and plastics
  • Increasing absorbency in nonwovens and tissue
  • Multipurpose additive in drilling fluids for the oil and gas industry
  • Lightweight reinforced composites for automotive, aeronautic, and sporting goods
  • Rheology modification and increased durability in paints and coatings
  • Improved rheology of food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals

The three major forms of nanocellulose are Cellulose Nano Fibrils (CNF), Cellulose Nano Crystals (CNC) and Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC).

2013 production levels rank nanocellulose below titanium dioxide as a new nanomaterial, yet it has the potential to represent the largest volume of all nanomaterials; the U.S. Forest Service estimates that nanocellulose could add $600 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020.

North American Nano Material Production 2013 (tonnes/year)

NANOCELLULOSE: Technology, Applications, and Markets reviews the development of nanocellulose technology and markets from the 1950s to today and provides a view of the road ahead, opportunities and challenges, with a forecast for 2020 and 2025. The study helps you understand the technology behind the developing industry, with a clear explanation of nanocellulose, its forms, characteristics, preparation, and applications. It also outlines the extraordinary characteristics and business potential of the different materials.

The study reviews relevant patents and patent applications. It also profiles more than 60 corporations, associations, and universities around the world that are producing and conducting research related to nanocellulose.

Table of Contents

1. Acknowledgements
2. Introduction, Scope, and Methodology
3. Executvie Summary
4. Introduction to Nanocellulose

4.1 Cellulose 101
4.2 Nano 101
4.3 Prices for Nano Materials
4.4 Nanocellulose 101
4.5 Definitions and Nomenclature
4.6 Forms of Nanocellulose

5. Cellulose nanofibrils (CNF)

5.1 Early Pioneers
5.2 Why now?
5.3 Research and development in papermaking
5.4 Research and development in Scandinavia
5.5 Research and development in North America
5.6 Research and development in Japan
5.7 TEMPO-oxidaton
5.8 Processing and surface modification of CNF
5.9 Applications for CNF beyond papermaking
5.10 State of the industry

6. Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)

6.1 CNC vs CNF
6.2 Process Overview
6.3 Dispersibility
6.4 Chiral nematic properties
6.5 Reinforcement of polymer nanocomposites (PNC)
6.6 Carboxylated CNC
6.7 Other research
6.8 State of the industry

7. Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC)

7.1 BNC applications
7.2 State of the industry

8. Applications and Markets

8.1 Paper and Paperboard
8.2 Paints and coatings
8.3 Composites
8.4 Films and barriers
8.5 Excipients
8.6 Textiles
8.7 Cement
8.8 Oil and gas
8.9 Nonwovens
8.10 Adhesives

9. The road ahead and forecast to 2025

9.1 Forecast
9.2 The road ahead

10. Issues and Implications for users of materials containing nanocellulose

10.1 Apparel
10.2 Architecture and construction
10.3 Automotive and transportation
10.4 Consumer package goods (CPG)
10.5 Cosmetics
10.6 Electronics
10.7 Food processing
10.8 Hygiene products
10.9 Rubber
10.10 Pharmaceuticals
10.11 Sporting goods

11. Profiles
12. References
13. Glossary


This study is the result of extensive primary and secondary research, supported with technical expertise from major universities.

The primary research included more than twenty interviews with nanocellulose researchers and producers across Japan, Scandinavia and North America during 2013 and 2014.

Research from 2009 to 2013, also included discussions with more than forty corporations across various industries to explore their needs in product performance improvement, cost reduction and their potential use of nanocellulose.

In addition, the team of advisors below has provided technical expertise for the study:

  • Mike Bilodeau, Director, Process Development Center, University of Maine
  • Wadood Hamad, Principal Scientist, FPInnovations; Adjunct Professor, Cellulosic Biomaterials, University of British Columbia
  • Robert J Moon, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory
  • Jeff Youngblood, Associate Professor, School of Materials Engineering, Purdue University

Other extensive research on cellulose included a review of more than a hundred technical journals, patent applications, conference presentations, magazine articles, and websites. A complete list of these sources is provided in the study.

Who will benefit from this study?

This study is of interest to senior decison-makers, Marketing and R&D in the industries were nanocellulose can be added to, or used more effectively than existing materials:

  • forest products
  • nonwovens
  • packaging
  • consumer goods
  • architecture and construction
  • automotive
  • cosmetics
  • sporting goods
  • medical and pharmaceutical
  • paint and coatings
  • adhesives
  • aerospace
  • electronics
  • oil and gas
  • textiles and apparel
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