The UMaine Cellulose Nanofiber Pilot Plant is the newest addition to the Process Development Center (PDC) at Jenness Hall. The new pilot plant was funded through a joint venture with the USDA Forest Service and is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Constructed in parallel to the Cellulose Nanocrystal Pilot Plant at the Forest Products Lab (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, the project will provide samples of biobased nanomaterials for application development. At UMaine, the grant funded the purchase of an ultrafine grinder, a spray dryer, and a major upgrade of stock preparation and refining capacity.
The purpose of the facility and the program is to:
CNF development and commercialization eﬀorts have been hampered in the past by the lack of CNF material in suﬃcient quantities to conduct meaningful technology demonstrations. Working with the Cellulose Nanocrystal Pilot Plant at the FPL, the program will produce and distribute CNF and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) in various forms for academic and industrial research. The UMaine PDC serves as the primary distributor of CNF and CNC for academic and commercial enterprises.
The Nanocellulose Research Program at UMaine is part of a research consortium including six other universities — Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University and University of Tennessee.
To find out more about the facilities and resources that are available to you through the Nanocellulose Research program at UMaine, please visit our Cellulose Nanofiber Laboratory Capabilities page.
Quotes From Our Collaborators:
“With development of new natural and functional nanomaterials, UMaine will be recognized as an innovator in novel cellulose nanofibril processing. UMaine will have the ability to process nanofibrillated cellulose in ways that open up new markets and applications for cellulose nanocomposites.” ~ Hemant Pendse, UMaine Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and FBRI Director
“If you can make products from nanofibrillated cellulose that normally use plastic, you can reduce the use of petroleum. It makes sense for Maine, and that’s what’s exciting about it. There is a long list of ideas but it takes resources to try them out. What this project does is put the equipment in place to generate a lot of raw material with which people can experiment.” ~ Doug Bousfield, UMaine professor of chemical and biological engineering and director of the Paper Surface Science Program
The Forest Products Laboratory has recently opened a cutting-edge nanocellulose pilot plant in Madison, Wisconsin. To learn more, check out our page about the plant.
Image Description: UMaine's New Nanofiber Pilot Plant