Nippon Paper completes installation and starts up pre-commercial cellulose nanofibers plant at its Iwakuni mill in Japan; the 30 tonnes/day-plus production demonstration facility expected to make it easy to defibrillate pulp with chemical pre-treatment

TOKYO , November 5, 2013 (press release) – - Establishment of mass production techniques and full-fledged development of applications -

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Yoshio Haga, “Nippon Paper Industries”) has completed the installation work for the pre-commercial plant of cellulose nanofibers (CNF) at Iwakuni Mill (Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture), and commenced operation.

CNF are materials obtained by breaking plant fibers (pulp) down to the nano-order level. They manifest a variety of excellent properties: high elasticity similar to aramid fibers, thermal expansion as low as quartz glass, and high gas barrier performance against oxygen and other types of gas. Also, since they come from plant fibers, they offer the advantage of low environmental impact in terms of production and disposal, as well as being light weight. CNF are expected to be used in many applications, such as reinforcement materials to enhance the strength of resins and so forth; thickeners to increase the viscosity of liquids in products such as foodstuffs, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals; and packaging materials with high gas barrier performance.

The newly established CNF pre-commercial plant will make it easy to defibrillate pulp by implementing chemical pre-treatment. With an annual production capacity of 30 or more tons, the facility will be Japan’s first full-scale operation producing CNF by chemical treatment.

This project has been selected for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Innovation Center Establishment Assistance Program “The Subsidy for Advanced Technology Demonstration and Evaluation Facility Development.” Following the set up of the facility, the establishment of mass production techniques will enable the full-scale supply of samples, which is expected to accelerate the development of applications with the aim of commercializing the CNF business.

As a comprehensive biomass company, the Nippon Paper Group plans to enhance its technology to promote the overall use of renewable forest resources, and expand its business domains.

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