Cellulose nanofiber from carrots is twice as strong as carbon fiber

Move over carbon fiber, there’s a new eco-friendly material that’s lighter and twice as strong, and is derived from agricultural and food processing waste.

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A Scottish sustainable materials company is on the verge of launching a revolution in renewable and eco-friendly nanofibers, which could be the future of high performance coatings, composites, and threads.

CelluComp’s proprietary process can separate cellulose from root vegetables such as carrots and sugar beets without the need for any strong chemical agents, and the resulting nanofibers can be used to produce composites that are not only strong and stiff, but light as well, and are said to compare with current carbon fiber technology.

The nanofiber product, which is called Curran® (Gaelic for carrot), can be used as a composite with a variety of resins, or in water-based polymers, to reinforce paints and coatings, to form laminated sheets, to add to concrete to increase flexure, and even spun into thread.

While the team began their development process with carrots from the local grocery store, and then moved on to using Grade B carrots (imperfect carrots that aren’t desirable or salable as a produce item), CelluComp is currently focusing on using sugar beet pulp, which is considered to be an agricultural waste product.