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First U.S. Cellulose Nanofibril Pilot Plant Opens at University of Maine

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The nation's first pilot scale cellulose nanofibril (CNF) pilot plant is open for business. In 2011, the University of Maine, located in Orono, Maine, USA, was the recipient of a 1.5 million dollar grant from the U.S. Forest Service to upgrade its cellulose microfibril pilot plant into the nation's first cellulose nanofibril pilot plant. This will be the only facility capable of producing CNF at this scale in the country. Researchers and industrial companies interested in evaluating CNF will have a convenient source from which to purchase the material.

"I have seen the future and it is now. The University of Maine has made a giant step forward to enhance the future of our industry," TAPPI President and CEO Larry Montague said. "The ramifications of this plant are enormous. Through this effort and others in the U.S., our industry is positioning itself to take many steps forward to bring higher value marketable products from our timberlands to the public. I salute the university and the State of Maine for stepping up to the plate with this project."

Researchers updated more than 300 forestry and paper industry officials, stakeholders, and politicians on what the university's research could mean for the future. The event was held in conjunction with the Maine Pulp and Paper Foundations 63rd annual Maine PAPER DAYS.

Montague delivered the keynote address and was joined by TAPPI's Nanotechnology Division Chairman Sean Ireland, Maine Senator Angus King, and many other paper company CEO's, mill managers, engineering students, supplier representatives, and more.


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