Preeti Tyagi, North Carolina State University
Exploration of Hemp Hurds Waste for Lignin-Containing Nanocellulose Based-Barrier Films for Sustainable Packaging
Written by Richard Wu
Non-biodegradable packaging materials, particularly single-use plastics, are everywhere and a significant contributor to the problem of environmental waste. One potential solution could be cellulose nanofibers (CNFs), a type of material produced through mechanical treatment and refinement processes of plant fibers. However, production of CNF materials often requires expensive raw materials such as wood pulp and high energy usage, and the resulting final product tends to be very hydrophilic, meaning it is very sensitive to water and dissolves in water more easily.
Preeti Tyagi from North Carolina State University has been investigating manufacturing methods and materials properties of a new type of CNF called lignin-containing cellulose nanofibers (LCNFs). LCNFs can be produced from inexpensive agricultural waste such as hemp hurds and have a less hydrophilic molecular structure than conventional CNFs. Tyagi’s research group found that these LCNFs were less expensive to produce and displayed greater water resistance than more conventional CNFs, making the LCNFs more suitable for applications such as food packaging.
This research makes important steps toward helping achieve a circular economy, thereby advancing efforts to promote greater sustainability.