Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network Selected as New Business-Led Network Funded by Government

FPInnovations is pleased to announce that ArboraNano - the Canadian Forest NanoProducts Network has been selected as one of four new Business-led Networks funded by the Government of Canada. ArboraNano is receiving $8.9 million over four years. Announced in Budget 2007, the goal of the Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence program is to fund large-scale, collaborative networks led by the private sector and focused on specific business research needs.

ArboraNano, a research and development network bringing together nanotechnology and forest sector expertise, will strive to create a new Canadian bio-economy based on innovative, highly-engineered, carbon-neutral products containing nanomaterials. Wood and wood fibre from Canada's vast forests can converted into high-value nanomaterials and intermediates, and these can be used to produce a variety of unique advanced products. These nanomaterials and the products developed from them will have applications in many industrial sectors, including aerospace, automotive, medical devices, chemicals, composites, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, coatings and forest products,. The ArboraNano network will involve the collaboration of Canadian scientists and engineers from these industries, as well as from university and government laboratories. It will provide the means to combine fundamental and applied research with private sector innovation in order to take advantage of Canada's vast sustainable natural forest resource.

Mr. Dave McDonald, Vice-President, Pulp and Paper, FPInnovations said that "many of the new products will be based on a plant-derived nanomaterial - NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC), while others will use other nanomaterials in the development of new forest products. NCC is a nanomaterial that has yet to establish a presence in the marketplace but that holds great promise. Research by FPInnovations scientists has shown that NCC has many remarkable properties, some of which are unique and others that are comparable to those of other well-known nanomaterials."

NCC can be economically extracted from trees. The properties of NCC and the many forms in which it can be made means that it has the potential to be used in many different ways, namely advanced building products, recyclable structural and interior components for the transportation industry, innovative coatings and fillers for papermaking, novel bioplastics, fibre-reinforced composites, switchable optical films, bio-composites for bone repair, additives for paints/pigments/inks and for cosmetic products, iridescent or magnetic films, electrically-conductive membranes, printed paper electronic devices, encapsulated quantum semiconductor crystal dots, and advanced or "intelligent" packaging materials. FPInnovations researchers have also shown the advantage of using nanomaterials other than NCC to significantly enhance the performance of forest products such as building materials, paper, board, packaging.

By using nanomaterials in various ways, increased strength and toughness, and improved resistance to wear, moisture and UV damage can be achieved. By taking advantage of unique properties such as colour, anti-microbial activity and self-cleaning properties, a multitude of novel forest nanoproducts can be created.

"Nanotechnology bridges a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and cuts across many industrial sectors. The growing interest in nanotechnology is a consequence of the promise this science holds to create new materials for a wide variety of manufactured goods," stated Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO, FPInnovations. "Nanotechnology is expected to represent a dominant force in economic growth over the next few decades and has been identified as a strategic platform for development. ArboraNano will build on this strategic platform and apply Canada's forest resource to create new unique opportunities for Canadian manufacturing industries", concluded Mr. Lapointe.

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