Endowment Endorses Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack’s Plans to Advance Cellulosic Nanomaterial

U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Greenville, SCFor IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 11, 2013)

Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), praised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement of the public-private partnership between the Endowment and the USDA Forest Service aimed at rapid commercialization of cellulosic nanomaterial. ThePartnership’s primary goal over the next three years is to advance the development of the first U.S. commercial facility producing cellulosic nanomaterial at scale. This work is designed to showcase the potential of these materials in a variety of Earth-friendly products and applications in ways that advance the economy while enhancing forest health and assuring appropriate human health and environmental safety.

“We are very excited to be a part of this new chapter in cutting-edge research. Our plan is to bring supplemental funding from the private sector to strengthen the research efforts of one of the most comprehensive forestry research organizations in the world,” said Owen. “In these times of fiscal belt- tightening, we need to leverage government investments at all levels with private funds to support aresearch agenda that leads to commercialization of brilliant ideas.”

Cellulosic nanomaterial – using materials extracted from trees at nano-scale or 1 billionth of a meter (a human hair is about nanometers in diameter) — holds great promise and can be used in everything from ballistic glass replacements to body armor, auto and aerospace structural materials, flexible electronic circuits, solar panels, and more. Cellulosic nanomaterial has exceptional strength and is considerably lighter weight when compared to materials it can replace. It is lower cost than similar nanomaterial and it is made from a renewable resource.

The renewability of the resource is a key driver for the Endowment. “To keep our nation’s forests as forests and to keep them healthy we need robust markets. Traditional forest products will be a part of our economy for the foreseeable future, but expanding the market with new technologies will help us grow our economy, grow jobs in rural America, and ultimately, grow more and healthier forests.”

This public-private partnership is part of an overall strategy to reinvigorate research and development in the forest products sector. The Endowment is also focusing on wood-to-energy and advanced greenbuilding materials. “The forest sector has a tremendous opportunity to write the future of sustainablematerials and energy in the United States. Advanced materials from forest products will produce a more sustainable future, but to realize that future we must invest in research. Those investments cannot come from just government or just the private sector,” said Mr. Owen. “Public-private partnerships like the one the Secretary announced today represent a new model where multiple sectors are engaging to develop abrighter future.”

Initial funding comes from the Endowment and the Forest Service. The Partnership is currently seeking additional public and private sector funding.

This new venture will:

  • Showcase the potential of wood-based nanotechnology for the economy and the environment;
  • Overcome technical barriers to commercialization of wood-based nanotechnology;
  • Demonstrate commitment to creating high-paying jobs in rural America through value- added

    manufacturing and high-value products while providing market-based approaches to forest health and restoration; and

  • Demonstrate USDA’s and the Forest Service’s commitment to innovation and collaboration.


For more information contact:
Michael Goergen, Director, P3Nano, 240-475-5741, michael@runslikeclock.work
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic,transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities – www.usendowment.org

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