2015 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials

Nano2015 Snapshot:

The 2016 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, was held in Atlanta, GA, USA.   Now in its 10th year, Nano2015 had 265 delegates from 24 countries.  Over 60 companies were represented, highlighting the tangible growth in this emerging market area of renewable biopolymers.  There was a Buzz of Activities:  1-Keynote talks, 2-lunch sponsorship talk, Tour of American Process Inc. BioPlusTM nanocellulose site, 5-table top displays, 2-NanoDivision Awards, Symposium on Energy-Electronics-Biological devices, standards update, panel discussion of factors to develop commercial markets, poster session with student poster competition, welcome reception, Young Professional Mixer, conference dinner, and a technical program that highlighted over 110 technical presentations on production, characterization, applications and functionalization of renewable nanomaterials.

Atlanta Skyline

Nano2015 Highlights:
  • Opening Keynote Talk from National Institute of Nanotechnology (NIN):  Dr. Marie D’Iorio, executive director of NIN, noted that cellulose nanomaterials are in the early stages of development and described some of the challenges of nanotechnology commercialization, including scalability, manufacturing, integration, lifecycle assessment, and health and safety.
  • Keynote Talk from American Process Inc. (API): This was a sponsored Keynote talk by API who were the Gold Sponsor of Nano2015.  Dr. Theodora Retsina is the CEO of API, gave an insightful talk about issues, challenges and opportunities of taking cellulosic nanomaterial production from the lab to commercialization.
  • Keynote Talk from Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI): This was a sponsored Keynote talk by RBI who were a Silver Sponsor of Nano2015.  Dr. Norman Marsolan, Director of RBI, gave an overview talk and video, of Georgia Tech’s nanocellulosic research into innovating renewable bioproducts. 
  • Commercial Announcement: American Process Inc. presented their latest results of BioPlusTM Nanocellulose, produced using their AVAP® technology which produces a material that is more easily dispersed and has enhanced properties.
  • Large Scale 3-D printing:   Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL), discussed their large scale 3-D printing capabilities using Cellulose nanomaterials.
  • NIST-TAPPI Workshop Report on Measurement Needs for Cellulose Nanomaterials: Based on the workshop at Nano2014, this report was published in June 2015 and key outcomes were presented at Nano2015.
  • Young Professional Mixer:  Hosted by TAPPI’s the Young Professionals Division, this is the first time the NANO conference started this tradition for young professions to have some fun and laid back networking with the industry’s future leaders. 
  • NanoDivision Gala Event:  A sold out event, in which 125 conference attendees braved the underwater worlds of the Georgia Aquarium and were able to explore many of the exhibits including the whale shark exhibit.  The conference dinner had a unique and fun ambience, with a live band playing music, and more exciting, the room had a 10ft by 20ft window into the Beluga Whale Exhibit, and the whales were very interested in watch what we were doing.   The evening was full of socializing, networking, and the festivities continued with the Division Awards Ceremony.   
NanoDivison Award Recipients: [link]
  • Technical Award & IMERYS FiberLeanTM Prize: Presented to Prof. Orlando J. Rojas, Aalto University.
  • Leadership & Service Award: Presented to Dr J. Philip E. Jones


Nano2015 Documents:
Tour of American Process Inc.: 

A sold out event, in which 110 conference attendees toured API's Thomaston Biorefinery 3.5 dry tons/day nanocellulose demonstration line, which open in 2015.   This line can produce cellulose nanofibrils, cellulose nanocrystals, and lignin-coated, hydrophobic varieties of each directly from a variety of biomass feedstocks (wood, agricultural residues, etc).  Kim Nelson, Vice president of Government Affairs, lead the tour, and attendees had fun participating in API's tradition of planting a tree when people come to visit the facility.    

Quotes from Nano2015:

“It’s good to see how developments with nanocellulose can help the pulp and paper industry, but it is also good to see the industry looking at applications beyond pulp and paper. The potential is immense.” Dr. Theodora Retsina, CEO, American Process Inc.

“I think that nanocellulose will become one of those ubiquitous materials finding its way in all industrial sectors because of its biocompatibility and biodegradability. Product lifecycle and environmental footprint will play in favor of nanocellulose-based materials, be it in lightweight materials for automotive and aerospace applications or hydrophilic membranes in biodegradable products. I think that tissue repair and substitutes and the use of biocellulose are in our future." Dr. Marie D'Iori, Executive Director, National Institute for Nanotechnology and Professor of Physics and Assistant VP-Research (Nanotechnology), University of Alberta