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Nov 1, 2019

Japan proposes wooden cars made of plant-based cellulose nanofibers

Posted by in categories: materials, transportation

One-fifth the weight of steel but five times the strength, plant-based cellulose nanofiber (CNF) offers carmakers the opportunity to build strong, lightweight cars while sustainably removing as much as 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) of carbon from the car’s life cycle.

We’ve written before about the extraordinary properties of CNFs, which were last year demonstrated to be stronger than spider silk. Made essentially from wood, but chipped, pulped and boiled in chemicals to remove lignin and hemicellulose, it’s a highly condensed, lightweight and incredibly strong material that’s also very recyclable.

It can also, as it turns out, be used in manufacturing, where it can be injection molded as a resin-reinforced slurry to form complex shapes – and the Japanese Ministry of the Environment sees it as a potential way for automakers to reduce weight and sustainably reduce their carbon footprint.

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