Piecing together research needs: safety, environmental performance and regulatory issues of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC)

K. Lähtinen, H. Valve, T. Jouttijärvi, P. Kautto, S. Koskela, P. Leskinen, K. Silvo, Marja Pitkänen, Heli Kangas, Pauliina Tukiainen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Control over matter on the atomic scale or nanoscale enables the creation of devices and structures with ground-breaking characteristics. Novel materials are expected to improve ecological efficiency, enhance quality of life and generate economic growth. In forest industry, there are numerous potential uses for nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC). However, the life cycle safety and environmental impacts of NFC are largely unknown. Due to this, incorporating the environmental considerations into research and development work is needed at the very beginning of NFC-based value chain development. The purpose of the study was to identify the most critical research needs relating to product safety, environmental performance and regulation challenges of producing and using NFC in intermediate and end products. The project was to bring together a wide spectrum of top experts to contemplate existing results and to prioritise unanswered questions relating to NFC production and usage in different phases of value chains. According to the results, identified research needs can be divided into two main topics: testing and test procedures and environmental behaviour of NFC. The development on-time regulation and standards was considered as important, but in many cases it was noted to be proceeding at a slow pace. Due to this, proactive communication with customers, authorities and consumers were considered to be an important question that requires research inputs. It was emphasised that research results on safety issues and environmental product characteristics, for example, are needed for reliable communication between different actors. The debates also opened up practical questions about the appropriate modes and arenas of cooperation between different stakeholders. Moreover, as became very evident in the debates during the pre-study, dialogue around new technologies and their implications are needed not only between administrators, scientists and private enterprises, but also more widely across the whole society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages29
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesLappeenranta University of Technology: Department of Information Technology. Research report


    • nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC)
    • value chain
    • safety
    • environmental performance
    • regulation


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