Nanocellulose is defined as the by-products or extracts from natural cellulose, which is present in microorganisms, plants, and mammals. It is one of the most notable green materials of the modern era, which is cellulose in the form of nanostructures. NC materials have attracted increasing interest amongst the researchers recently. As of 2022, over 800 patents were published, while the total number of research papers crossed 6000 numbers. The rising interests is as a result of the alluring and exceptional qualities of nanocellulose. This include its abundance, high aspect ratio, superior mechanical capabilities, renewability, and biocompatibility. Researchers and the industry have been motivated to maximize the use of nanocellulose owing to increased demand and the use of novel applications.
Nanocellulose, which can currently be produced on an industrial scale at tonnes per day, can be used in a variety of applications in our daily lives. This includw nanocomposite materials, biomedical products, wood adhesives, batteries, super capacitors, templates for electronic components, continuous fibers and textiles, food coatings, barrier/separation membranes, antimicrobial films, paper products, cosmetics, and many other emerging uses. As of today, around 36% of the demand for NC comes from packaging, paper, and board, while about 20% is for filtration products, and over 23% for nanocomposites. Further, by 2030, the production of nanocellulose around the world is poised to cross 36,000 Tons/year, up from about 2400 Tons/year in the current day.
By subjecting cellulose fibers to mechanical, oxidative, and enzymatic treatments as well as acid hydrolysis, nanocellulose can be produced. The most popular method is the chemical process of cellulose hydrolysis by acid solutions. Typically, cellulosic materials from wood and nonwood plants are acid hydrolyzed to produce nanocellulose. Wood is the primary raw material utilized to make cellulose on a global basis. In nations where wood is a limited natural resource, finding alternate sources of plant materials remains a top focus. Nonwood plants make a good alternate source for these raw elements needed to make pulp.
Nanocellulose is used in a variety of products. This include toys for kids and cleaners for oil spills. Moreover, from the utilization of nanocellulose, pharmaceutical, food, and medical industries can all be benefitted.
The source, isolation method, and potential later surface modifications all affect the characteristics of nanocellulose.