2014 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials

Nano2014 Snapshot:

The 2014 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.   Now in its 9th year, Nano2014 had 230 delegates from 25 countries.  Several key commercial announcements were made at this year’s conference, highlighting the tangible growth in this emerging market area of renewable biopolymers.   There was a Buzz of Activities:  2-Keynote talks, Tour of AMPEL and TRIUMF, 2-workshops, 5-table top displays, First NanoDivision Award, panel discussion of factors to develop commercial markets, poster session with student poster competition, welcome reception, conference dinner, and a technical program that highlighted over 80 technical presentations on production, characterization, applications and functionalization of renewable nanomaterials.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Nano2014 Highlights:
  • Opening Keynote: The Nano Puzzle – Putting the Pieces Together:   Mr. Al Ward – President and Chief Operating Officer, Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., gave an insightful talk addressing how nanotechnology and nanomaterials should effect how the pulp and paper industry views the future of product development.  
  • Keynote: Imerys FiberLeanTM - Commercial Break-Through in MFC Processing:  Mr. Per Svending - Commercial Director, Imerys FiberLeanTM, was one of the inventors of the FiberLeanTM process and is now heading up the commercialization effort for this breakthrough technology.  His talk introduced this community to FiberLeanTM.
  • New NanoDivision Leadership:   At the conference opening there was a special ceremony marking the first changing of the NanoDivision Leadership (e.g., Chair – Robert Moon, Vice-Chair –Emily Cranston, and Secretary - Leslie McLain). 
  • NANO App.  This was the first year the NANO conference organized the use of the NANO App to help keep conference attendees up-to-date on exciting events of the NANO conference in real time. 
  • Tours of AMPEL and TRIUMF: A sold out event, with 80 conference attendees seeing some of the strategic assets the University of British Columbia has to offer for cellulose nanomaterials R&D.  The tour of The Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL), consisted of visits to the Flexible Electronics and Energy Lab (FEEL), the Interface Analysis Lab, the Mechatronics Lab, the Biomaterials Lab, the Composite Lab, the Nanofibres Lab, and the Advanced Fibrous Materials Lab.  The tour of TRIUMF centered around one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories, and Canada’s national laboratory for nuclear and particle physics research and related sciences.
  • NanoDivision Gala Event:  A sold out event, in which 100 conference attendees, socialized and networked over dinner on board The Corporate Yacht to view Vancouver’s glimmering shoreline while cruising.
Nano2014 Workshops:
  • NIST Workshop – Metrology Needs for Cellulose Nanomaterials:  The U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted a special workshop to focus on the most important metrology needs facing the cellulosic nanomaterials community.
  • Standardization Workshop: This workshop provided a forum for international communication and collaboration in developing standards for cellulose nanomaterials. Updates on standards in development, plus working groups to advance the research needed to support standards development were a part of this workshop.
NanoDivision Award Recipient: [link]
  • Technical Award & Imerys FiberLean™ Prize:  Presented to Dr. Richard Berry, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for CelluForce.  This is the NanoDivision’s first Technical Award.
Nano2014 Documents:
Key Commercial Announcements:
  • Celluforce, which opened their commercial plant in January 2012, shared six advanced commercial projects.
  • Imerys announced the launch of their new FiberLean™ MFC innovative composite, which enables a 10-15% reduction in fiber usage for papermaking applications.
  • BioFilaments shared information on their unique high performance biomaterial derived from wood cellulose to be used as reinforcing agents and rheological modifiers.
  • Blue Goose Biorefineries presented their patent-pending process for producing cellulose nanocrystals from wood pulp.
  • Nippon Paper Industries introduced Cellenpia, their cellulose nanofibers produced from their pre-commercial plant.
  • GL&V presented their commercial system, developed with the Univeristy of Maine, to produce cellulose nanofibrils at a very low energy cost.
  • American Process Inc. presented their latest results of producing lignin-coated nanocellulose particles using their AVAP® technology which produces a material that is more easily dispersed and has enhanced properties.
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Quotes from Nano2014:
  • “This year’s conference had an excellent balance of presentations on fundamental topics and applications,” commented co-chair Orlando J. Rojas, Professor at North Carolina State & Aalto University. “Expert scientists from around the globe shared new insights and remarkable, high quality work.”
  • “This year’s conference had significant representation from those companies and organizations in Japan that are involved in cellulose nanomaterials,” noted co-chair Akiro Isoagi, University of Tokyo. “It was a great honor to work with the co-chairs and conference planners to showcase the work going on in Japan and Asia.”
  • “This year’s conference was exceptional,” noted co-chair Wadood Hamad, Priniciple Scientist, FPInnovations. “The keynote and technical presentations were of very high quality. The advancements made in many applications show great promise, and we will see expanded commercial use of these renewable biomaterials.”