Upcycling Poultry Feathers with (Nano)cellulose: Sustainable Composites Derived from Nonwoven Whole Feather Preforms

Victoria Vilchez, Elena Dieckmann, Tekla Tammelin, Christopher Cheeseman, Koon-Yang Lee (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Poultry feathers are low cost, abundant bioderived materials that are often regarded as waste. In this work, we report a simple method akin to papermaking to upcycle whole poultry feather waste into nonwoven whole feather preforms. This was achieved by utilizing (nano)cellulose fibers, namely, wood pulp and nanocellulose, as binders. It was found that the hornification between adjacent (nano)cellulose fibers trapped and held the whole poultry feathers together, producing a rigid and robust nonwoven whole feather preform. The preforms containing nanocellulose were found to perform better mechanically, with a tensile strength of up to 1.6 N mm-1 (at 20 wt % nanocellulose content), compared to preforms containing wood pulp. Feather-gelatin composites containing 23 and 47 wt % nonwoven whole feather preform loadings were also successfully manufactured. The resulting composites possessed a tensile modulus and strength up to 2.1 GPa and 18 MPa, respectively. This work also shows that the feather-gelatin composites could be easily deconstructed in hot water. The produced nonwoven whole feather preforms, as well as their feather-gelatin composites, could serve as a sustainable alternative for various semistructural applications, in line with the concept of a circular bioeconomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14263–14267
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cellulose microfibrils
  • wood pulp
  • recycling
  • waste feathers
  • resources efficiency


Dive into the research topics of 'Upcycling Poultry Feathers with (Nano)cellulose: Sustainable Composites Derived from Nonwoven Whole Feather Preforms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this