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Manufacturing Process for Extracting High-Quality Cellulose Nanocrystals from Biomass.

Stage: Development
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) come from renewable resources and have many promising applications in materials synthesis, green catalysis, biosensing and more. CNCs can be used as a replacement for carbon fibers in composites, for energy storage and conversion, water purification, and many other applications. However, the high cost of producing CNCs at a large scale, and the relatively poor quality of the product, impede commercial development. Argonne, UChicago and Aloterra Energy LLC then worked together to solve both problems.

Building on the work of the UChicago team, Argonne scientists invented an optimized process and scaled it up to an economical manufacturing level. The process, known as Bio2Nano, converts noninvasive, abundant Miscanthus x. Giganteus into high-quality CNCs. By combining in-situ generation of a bleaching agent, bleaching, and hydrolysis into a single step, the novel process reduces materials and energy usage as well as waste generation.