2023 Nano Conference

The 2023 Nano Conference Snapshot:

The 2023 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials was located at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver B.C., Canada.  Attendees were able to move freely between all technical sessions and breaks, providing opportunities for networking while learning the latest technical advancements in production and use of renewable nanomaterials from around the globe.  With a combined attendance of over 250 people, from academia, industry, federal research institutes, from all over the world, there was a heightened buzz of excitement with the R&D and application of renewable materials.    

This year’s in-person event saw 253 delegates from 18 countries!  There was a Buzz of Activities including:  2-Keynote talks, 2- Sponsored Keynote talks, Tour of University of British Colombia and Noram BC Research facility, two workshops including CNM Characterization and Opportunities for Cellulose Nanomaterials in Packaging Applications,   11-tabletop exhibitor displays, 6-NanoDivision Awards, a End-Users Panel Discussion, a Research Panel Discussion, a New Technology Showcase, a University Product showcase, Career Panel, Poster session with Student Poster Competition, Welcome Reception, Conference Mixer with wine tasting, Conference Dinner Cruise, and a Technical Program that featured over 140 technical presentations on production, characterization, applications and functionalization of renewable nanomaterials.

Conference Venue - the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver B.C., Canada

Nano 2023 Highlights:

Opening Keynote:  "The 10 Year Journey of a Biomaterials Company": 

Gurminder Minhas, Managing Director of Performance Biofilaments briefed attendees on the journey that Performance BioFilaments has been on since the launch of the company. Gurminder covered some of victories, some of the challenges and some of the surprises along the way.

Keynote: Beyond Nano: "How is MFC Revolutionizing Paper, Packaging, Building Materials, and More?": 

This Keynote talk sponsored by FiberLean Technologies Ltd., a Gold Sponsor of Nano 2023, was hosted by Dave Skuse, Technology Vice President. Dave presented FiberLean’s highlight game-changing, sustainable opportunities made possible with industrial-scale MFC Production Units. These MFC Production Units along with surface applicators are used to achieve flexibility, strength, and new dimensions for existing, evolving, and entirely new products.

Keynote: "From Trees to Tires:  Development and Scale-Up of the Nanocellulose Dispersion Composite (TM)"

This Keynote talk sponsored by GranBio and Birla Carbon, a Gold Sponsor of Nano 2023, was hosted by Kim Nelson, Chief Technical Officer of GranBio and Lewis Tunnicliffe, Product Development Manager for Birla Carbon. Both Kim and Lewis shared their recent breakthrough Nanocellulose Dispersion Composite (NDC™). This new masterbatch product was the result of a six-year Joint Development Program between Birla Carbon and GranBio, designed to address growing sustainability demands from the tire industry in terms of improving tire rolling resistance and vehicle fuel economy as well as utilization of sustainable, bio-derived materials.

Keynote: “Nanocellulose: Is It Really a Good Solution for Sustainable Packaging?”

Julien Bras, an Associate Professor at Grenoble INP shared an exciting lunch talk on the main challenges in the sustainable packaging industry and discussed how nanocellulose can be used to create promising solutions by providing some examples from his R&D background.

Academic Tour of University of British Colombia:  

An event in which 35 conference attendees toured one of Canada’s leading research institutions. In collaboration with the BioProducts Institute, attendees had the opportunity to explore the University of British Colombia’s campus laboratories dedicated to research and experimental development in nanotechnology.

Industry Tour of Noram BC Research Center Inc.:  

A sold-out event in which 20 conference attendees had the opportunity to tour newly developed technologies and engineering processes. Attendees viewed the analytical lab to explore processes such as lignin fractionation, micro-plastic separation, and CNC related processes to support CMC manufacturing. Attendees also explored the pilot plant to view Mass Transfer Processes, Cross Flow Filtration, and CO2 Sequestration.

New Technology Showcase:

The 2023 Nano Conference featured for the first time the New Technology Showcase where participating companies were given the opportunity to showcase the latest technological advancements recently developed within the past year. Attendees were given the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge innovations and to speak directly with each presenting company.

Participating Companies:

  • Anomera
  • Fiberlean Technologies Ltd.
  • Anpoly
  • Performance Biofilaments
  • University of Maine
  • Valmet

University Product Showcase:

Participating Universities were provided the opportunity to feature samples of products and materials produced by their university labs.

Participating Companies:

  • Perdue University
  • University of Maine
  • University of Sao Paulo
  • University of Putra Malaysia

End-Users Panel: 

The End-Users Panel, hosted by Hamdy Khalil, included three companies Kintra Fibers, BASF, and Lafarge Canada Inc., representing various end-user industry segments, discussed issues and requirements that the ultimate end user will have when producing commercial products incorporating cellulose nanomaterials.

New Panel Discussion on International Nanomaterial Regulations and Ongoing Characterization Challenges: 

The 2023 Nano Conference featured a new panel discussion focused on how to respond to the new definition of “Nano” from a regulatory and characterization standpoint. The goal of this panel discussion was to provide some fundamental understanding of the challenges in characterizing the morphology of cellulose nanomaterials and advice on how to navigate new regulations in an effort to share some potential solutions with the audience.        

Conference Mixer: 

This event hosted by TAPPI Nano Student Committee provided the opportunity for attendees of all ages to network while enjoying a wine tasting and the musical trappings of Tom Arntzen.

Nano Division Conference Dinner: 

A sold-out event, in which 184 conference attendees socialized and networked over dinner and music while aboard the Pride of Vancouver, a vessel owned by Spirit Cruises. After the Nano Division Awards Ceremony, attendees enjoyed the live music of the Tom Arntzen Band where many attendees danced the night away.   

Characterization and Packaging Workshops

Nano 2023 Workshop Cellulose Nanomaterials Characterization Workshop –Primary Characterization:   

This workshop summarized and outlined details of best practices and limitations for several techniques/methods typically used for the characterization of cellulose nanomaterials.

Workshop Instructors: 

  • Johan Foster, University of British Columbia
  • Tiffany Abitbol, EPFL
  • Heli Kangas. Valmet          
  • Thomas Parton, University of Cambridge
  • Michael Bortner, Virginia Tech

New Nano 2023 Workshop: Opportunities for Cellulose Nanomaterials in Packaging Applications

This workshop presented in collaboration with Forest Products Laboratory provided an introduction into how cellulose nanomaterials can be used in packaging applications. This workshop covered topics such as properties of CNs films alone as a barrier application on paper and polymer substrates incorporated into other polymeric materials. The benefits of using CNs for packaging applications and resulting properties were also explored.

Workshop Instructors: 

  • Nicole Stark, Forest Product Labs
  • Ron Sabo, Forest Product Labs

Student Poster Session & Competition:

Attendees had the opportunity to visit over 48 presentations which focused on additional application, characterization and functionalization of cellulose and other renewable nanomaterials.  Conference attendees voted on the student posters in the competition using the voting tool in the Conference App.

Poster winners:

First Place
Ariane Fernandes, University of British Columbia
Development Of Nanocellulose Emulgels for Oral Health Care Applications 

Second Place
Marina Mehling, University of British Columbia
Red Wine Vinegar Waste for Oxidation Catalysis

Third Place
Victoria French, University of British Columbia
CNF-Mycelium Nanocomposites for Heavy Metal Remediation

Nano 2023 Awards:

A new Nano Division Sponsor Award:  The Sponsor Award was introduced for the first time to recognize longstanding sponsors for their longstanding support of the Nanotechnology Conference. This award was presented to Valmet.

  • Technical Award & FiberLean® Technologies Prize:  Presented to Soydan Ozcan, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Leadership & Service Award: Presented to Emily Cranston, University of British Colombia
  • Mid-Career Award: Presented to Feng Jiang, University of British Colombia
  • Young Professional Nano Award: Presented to Keith Gourlay, Performance Biofilaments
  • Student Award: Presented to Eupidio Scopel, University of Campinas


2023 Conference Guide