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S. Korea to build R&D center to develop biodegradable cellulose nanofiber material

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : May 24, 2022, 08:30 Updated : May 24, 2022, 14:06

[Courtesy of North Gyeongsang Province]

SEOUL -- South Korea's southern province was selected to carry out a 10 billion won ($7.9 million) state project to build a research and development center for cellulose nanofiber, a nanoscale fiber material made from plant materials. Cellulose nanofiber materials can replace plastic materials thanks to their high strength and biodegradable features.
Cellulose nanofiber (CNF) is produced by micro-refining cellulose, an important structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants. Because CNF materials are lighter than plastic but have stronger integrity, they can be used to produce various products such as interior and exterior materials for cars, battery packs and lithium-ion secondary battery separators.
North Gyeongsang Province said in a statement on May 23 that the R&D center will be built in Gyeongsan some 249 kilometers (154 miles) south of Seoul through a five-year project. The province will provide various equipment to test and commercialize eco-friendly materials that can replace plastics. The provincial government has carried out research with local companies specializing in interior and exterior materials for electric vehicles and other CNF-related materials from 2019 to 2021. The province secured eight patents related to CNF materials based on biodegradable organic materials including rice hulls and pulps. In South Korea, rice hulls were approved as renewable materials in October 2021. 
"We will preoccupy the market and secure new growth engines by developing green high-tech materials and supporting related companies," North Gyeongsang official Jang Sang-gil said in a statement.

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