Cellulosic fibers are good for the environment so the saying goes. One supplier, Eastman, reports they are degradable in the ocean within months. No surprise then that plastic vendors see the material as a promising reinforcement for composites. Take Japan's Polyplastics, for example, who has developed long-fiber thermoplastic reinforced with regenerated cellulose.
Cellulose nanofiber (the other CNF as we say) and microfiber is another major ongoing research theme in Japan. Shipments of commercial products started in 2018.
Meanwhile in Europe, the The European Biobcompo project aims to utilize cellulose-based biocomposites to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by 8% through the replacement of conventional mineral fillers with bio-based fibers.
In the commercial sphere, Celanese Corporation and International Paper have worked together in the application of a composite combining cellulose fiber from trees with long-glass fiber in a polypropylene (PP) matrix resulted in significant cost savings achieved by reducing weight up to 25 percent per part. The composite was used in the center console carrier of Ford’s 2018 Lincoln Continental luxury sedan.
2108 appears to have been a breakout year for cellulose fibers. it remains to be seen what traction can be gained in the coming years.