There were 179 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 450,157 in the last 365 days.

Forest Products Laboratory Announce Grants with U.S. Endowment for Forests and Communities

The USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in collaboration with the US Endowment for Forests and Communities (US Endowment), is awarding $2.4 million in grants to accelerate the use of nanocellulosic materials (CNM) for use in a wide range of applications.

Ten projects will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to be paid in one- to three-year increments.

Cellulosic nanomaterials are made by breaking down wood from trees or other plants into small rods or fibers less than one-thousandth of the thickness of a typical human hair. These tiny, renewable particles are stronger than steel and can be used to protect and strengthen commercial materials such as plastics for packaging, car parts, paper and cement. Adding just one-tenth of one percent of cellulosic nanomaterials to cement increases its strength by 20%, meaning less cement has to be used, resulting in cost savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our public-private partnership model with the U.S. Endowment demonstrates how we can quickly move new discoveries from the lab into new applications and commercialization. Doing so helps create more sustainable products and businesses using wood an abundant renewable resource,” said Forest Products Laboratory Station Director Dr. Cynthia West.

Cellulosic nanomaterials are nature’s naturally occurring structural building blocks. Accelerating their use can open doors to economic opportunities in rural America by sustainably harvesting and transforming otherwise low-value wood into high-value nano materials.  

Awardee project highlights include:

  • From Trees to Tires: U.S.-based companies Birla Carbon and AVAPCO are replacing carbon black in tires with natural, renewable cellulose. They have found that adding 5% cellulosic nanomaterials to tires can reduce rolling resistance and improve gas mileage by 5%. 
  • Frost Protection of Tree Fruits: Spraying a 2% solution of cellulose nano fibrils in water on apple and cherry blossoms can help protect them from frost. This novel approach uses less energy, is more effective than traditional methods, and saves valuable crops from devastating and unpredictable losses. This provides economic security to rural farmers, while keeping U.S. fruits flowing to consumers.
  • Making Oil Drilling Cleaner: TigerBullets is a wood- and plastic-based drilling fluid additive that seals cracks in bore hole walls to reduce drilling fluid loss and groundwater contamination. Adding 2 to 3% cellulose nano fibrils to this fully biodegradable drilling fluid additive improves drilling fluid performance and plugs cracks more effectively than conventional alternatives.

Since 2013 the U.S. Endowment and Forest Products Laboratory have partnered through the P3Nano project to accelerate commercialization of cellulosic nanomaterials. The goal is to develop sustainable and environmentally friendly forest products that can be used in a variety of industries and commercial goods, including those where forest products haven’t always been considered a material of choice.

Additional examples that demonstrate the potential and versatility of cellulosic nanomaterials include using them as:

  • an adhesive in fiberboard to produce gypsum-free panels;
  • an additive to creams for reflective coatings like sunscreen;
  • a self-assembly structure for batteries; and
  • as a functional additive to composites, including modified fiberglass, barrier enhancements for packaging films, and barrier coatings for snack food packaging.

“This public-private partnership continues to invest in innovation. We are using the fundamental building blocks of trees to create a lower carbon future with next generation products that provide significant value in new markets,” said Michael Goergen, Vice President and Innovation Director for P3Nano. “Cellulosic nanomaterials are providing new markets for forest products, while helping multiple industries solve performance, cost and environmental challenges.”

To find out more about the extraordinary contributions our researchers are making to the world of wood science, please visit the Forest Products Laboratory at 

Contact us about this research or any of our other incredible projects at