Nanocellulose Dewatering and Drying: Current State and Future Perspectives
Publication Name: ASC Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Publication URL: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c01797
The knowledge base for nanocellulose (NC) has grown exponentially over the past two decades and continues to expand with the increasing number of potential applications demonstrated in the literature and the patent space. NC has multiple forms depending on the starting cellulose source and the specific process used to produce it. Its high degree of surface reactivity makes it an ideal support structure for a wide variety of functional groups, leading to the ability to engineer materials for very specific applications. However, removing water from an NC suspension, e.g., dewatering and drying, while retaining the nanoscale properties of the NC remains a significant challenge to successful commercialization of NC materials. Processes for dewatering and drying of NC are desirable because of the high transport costs of shipping dilute aqueous suspensions, as well as end-use application requirements. Therefore, the development of nondestructive, cost-effective, scalable, and environmentally friendly dewatering and drying processes is important for commercial deployment of NC applications. This review addresses the current state of published knowledge on NC dewatering and drying and identifies research gaps that could be further explored in a precompetitive context to accelerate commercialization.