Production of Crystalline Nano-Cellulose
June 23, 2021
The unique properties of Crystalline Nano-Cellulose, or CNC, have propelled it into novel applications ranging from anti-fog coatings to drilling fluids. As industrial production volumes climb, more attention has been levelled at reducing the unit process economics. A family of recent NORAM patents supports both the production and purification of CNC.
Making the refined CNC products starts with the processing of cellulosic materials – derived from sources such as wood-pulp – in an acid, a process known as partial hydrolysis. In the traditional batch reactors, a large ratio of acid, and a high degree of mixing, is required to blend the acid with the dry, low-density cellulose to produce a uniform CNC. The separation, purification and reconcentration of this acid represents a significant percentage of the total capital and operating cost of a typical CNC plant.
Enter the new CelluWick™ continuous compressed cellulose reactor, that pre-compresses the voluminous cellulose feedstocks in such a way that acid is efficiently drawn, or ‘wicked’, into the cellulose, providing good contact without the need for high acid ratios or mixing. The volumes of both the reactor, and the acid used are reduced by a factor of ~three, with higher throughput, more uniform reaction times, and savings in CAPEX and OPEX.
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