Nanocellulose Facility - Capabilities
With the funding from the USDA Forest Service for their Nanofiber Pilot Plant, UMaine purchased an ultrafine grinder, spray dryer, and a major upgrade of the stock preparation and the refining capacity capabilities. This state-of-the-art equipment enables the pilot plant to work at full capacity to reach all its clients needs.
Pilot Plant Capabilities
- Production Rate The new nanofiber pilot plant is capable of producing cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) at a rate of one ton per day. This will be the only facility capable of producing CNF at this scale in the country.
- Ultrafine Grinder The Masuko MKZB15-50J supermass colloider creates a high shear zone that helps to liberate nanofibers present in natural lignocellulosic fibers. The nanofibers have tremendous surface area and water holding capacity. The final product is a slurry of about 3 wt% cellulose nanofibers that can be further processed into a growing number of high value products.
- Upgraded Refiner Laboratory The stock preparation and refining pilot plant at UMaine has also been updated including, high efficiency agitators, pumps and piping to handle the larger volume and viscosity of the cellulose nanofiber slurry produced in the pilot plant.
- Spray Dryer The GEA Process Engineering VSD-6.3-P Spray Dryer produces dry nanofibers for applications that cannot utilize a water-based slurry or in cases where the product needs to be stored for long periods of time or shipped significant distances. The dryer has the capacity to dry several pounds of nanocellulose per day. The dryer will also allow for chemical modification of the material to impart additional functionality.
Stock Preparation / Refining
- 100 gal. Black Clawson repulper
- 200 gal. repulper
- 13” double disc refiner – in line or recirculating; variable speed drive
- 20” double disc refiner – in line or recirculating; variable speed drive
- JC-01 Conflo refiner – in line or recirculating; variable speed drive
- Various centricleaner systems
- Black Clawson deflaker
- PFI mills
- 1,000 gal. machine chest
- 1,000 gal. blend chest
- (2) 1,500 gal. stock chests
- (2) 3,000 gal. stock chests