In Japan, Daio Paper has started producing cellulose nanofibers at a 10 metric tons/year pilot plant at Shikoku-Chuo City. The company hopes to eventually sell the CNF into plastic composites and will use the pilot plant’s output to run trials and improve processibility.
Potential downstream applications include parts for cars and appliances.
According to Plastics Today, expanded use of CNFs is hindered by cost, which runs around $50/kg. Suppliers hope to eventually get that figure down to $5.
A number of paper companies are also ramping up CNF efforts, including Nippon Paper Industries and Oji Paper. Nippon Paper up a 500 metric tons per year plant at Ishinomaki Mill in April of last year. The company is exploring composites with polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyamide. Oji Paper has operated a 40 metric tons per year facility in Anan City since December 2016.