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Management Side
Nippon Paper Industries Builds the World's Largest Cellulose Nanofiber Large-Scale Production Facility
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Tokyo, Japan 18 May 2016 -- Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Fumio Manoshiro; hereinafter "Nippon Paper Industries") announces the plan to build a large-scale cellulose nanofiber (CNF) production facility at the Ishinomaki Mill (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi). This facility will produce CNF from wood pulp that is chemically treated by the TEMPO catalytic oxidation method (see Note). A total of 1.6 billion yen will be invested on the facility, and an annual production capacity is 500 tons. It is scheduled to begin its operation in April 2017. This project reinforces the Ishinomaki Mill's foundations as a production base of CNF, a new material, in addition to printing and information paper business, power generation business, and recycling business. This new facility will make the Ishinomaki Mill one of the core mills of Nippon Paper Industries, "a comprehensive biomass company shaping the future with trees."

TEMPO-oxidized CNF is made from wood fiber (pulp) that is finely defibrated to the nano-level and completely nano-dispersed with uniform fiber widths of 3 to 4 nm and high crystalinity. It has also exhibits unique and outstanding features that are not found in conventional materials, such as lightweight, a high modulus of elasticity, good dimensional stability against heat, and high gas barrier property. In addition, because carboxyl groups are densely arranged in regular order on the surface of CNF, it can support a large amount of metal ions or metallic nanoparticles, which allows various functions to be added.

Nippon Paper Industries has been developing CNF manufacturing technologies since 2007, and installed a demonstration facility with an annual production capacity of 30 tons at the Iwakuni Mill (Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi) in October 2013. Last year Nippon Paper Industries succeeded in producing CNF sheet with large amount of metal ions on CNF surface which render antimicrobial and deodorizing effects. Nippon Paper Crecia Co., Ltd. (President: Yasunori Nanri), a group company of Nippon Paper Industries, became the first in the world to commercialize health care products utilizing functional CNF through the use of this technology (The products such as, "Hada Care" Series, including "Poise® Skin Care Pad" and "Hada Care Acty®").

Henceforth, Nippon Paper Industries will expand the use of functional CNF with antimicrobial and deodorizing functions. Also the applications of CNF as functional additives that take advantage of CNF's characteristic viscosity and texture will be developed. In addition, Nippon Paper Industries has been developing wide range of other uses, such as functional sheets utilizing excellent thermal dimensional stability equal to that of glass fibers and high gas barrier property that does not allow oxygen to penetrate, and nano-composite materials with resin and rubber to reduce weight and provide added strength. Nippon Paper Industries aims to quickly secure markets for these promising CNF uses.

Based on the technology that highly utilizes renewable forest resources, Nippon Paper Industries will continue to expand business areas to contribute to better living and cultural progress everywhere it does business. CNF is a new material that will be core to these endeavors, and Nippon Paper Industries will accelerate its applications in a wide range of industrial fields through large-scale CNF production.

Note: A chemical denaturation method for cellulose by TEMPO catalysis, developed by Professor Akira Isogai et al of the Department of Biomaterial Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences at The University of Tokyo. Using this method pulp is easily defibrated, and it is possible to obtain nanofiber with uniform width.



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