ArboraNano, the Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network, completed its mandate with more than 25 research projects showing promising results. However, projects also identified a number of common technological challenges that needed to be overcome so that the full potential of nanomaterials derived from wood fibre could be realized.
Upon its dissolution, ArboraNano mandated FPInnovations to develop a program of fundamental research to better understand these technological gaps. An invitation for an open innovation competition was launched to universities based on the six common problems that were identified.
The scientific committee selected seven projects to support from the more than 40 proposals that were submitted. Five of these projects—with topics such as dispersion of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) in aqueous media, surface modification of CNCs, and the study of the thermal stability of CNCs and cellulose filaments (CFs)—are under way, and the remaining two will commence shortly. Thanks to support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Prima Quebec, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and InnoTech Alberta, as well as in-kind contributions from FPInnovations and CelluForce, ArboraNano’s “seed funding” has leveraged a significant initiative in nanocellulose research.
Learn more on FPInnovations’ bioproducts research program by consulting our Bioproducts webpage.
This article was originally published in the 2016-2017 IMPACT magazine.