MADISON, Wis. - The U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is poised to become the country's leading producer of forest-based nanomaterials with the opening of a $1.7 million nanocellulose pilot plant. The facility will support an emerging market for new wood-derived renewable materials that will create jobs and contribute an estimated $600 billion to the economy by 2020.
The United States and other nations will see numerous benefits from the commercialization of wood-derived cellulosic nanomaterials, as they have many desirable characteristics. They can be stronger than Kevlar fiber and provide high strength with low weight. These attributes have attracted the interest of the military for use in lightweight armor and ballistic glass, as well as companies in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, and medical device industries.
As new lightweight, high-performance products are developed and commercialized, fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, manufacturing in rural areas will increase, and many new high-paying jobs will be created. FPL'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.
For over 100 years, FPL's work with academia, industry, and other government agencies has led to ground-breaking discoveries with great benefit to the public. Additional information on FPL's research is available at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.
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