2016 TAPPI International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials

This year I wore the 5+ year member ribbon at the TAPPI Nanotechnology Conference. Since my first meeting in 2009 (thank you for inviting me Lori Sheremeta!), the meeting has grown from mostly academic reports and basic nanocellulose science to a diverse range of topics on the technologies,  applications, characterization and safety!

We heard from several industry participants who presented and showcased their products. Satoshi Inoui of the Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry gave out samples of one of the first commercial product, a pen with nanocellulose added to the ink so it will flow better.  And FiberLean brought a huge team, which they needed to hand out all the swag of their new company, a joint venture between Imerys and Omya. 

Safety was a popular topic - all sessions well attended! Maria Doa, of the Chemical Control Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shared how the EPA views nanomaterials (“we treat them as substances”), and what people can expect when they come to the EPA with submissions for Premanufacturing Notifications, as well as an update on the Draft Nano Reporting Rule, which will apply to producers of nano-forms of conventional materials.

And since Chuck Geraci of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was there as my invitee, he made sure we said “Health, Safety and Environment”, so we put people first (plus, there do not appear to be any adverse environmental impacts of cellulose nanomaterials on the environment).   

Vireo’s own Kimberly Ong received many kudos for her excellent presentation of our collaborative work with Kim Nelson of American Process. And Tom Peters, P3Nano Grantee, discussed his collaboration with Johan Foster, Vireo Advisors, the Forest Products Laboratory and NIOSH on occupational exposure methods. Heli Kangas and I presented our respective efforts on risk assessments of products containing cellulose nanomaterials. Finally, we had a productive session on advancing standards, including a meeting of the EHS (sorry Chuck!) subcommittee to map out global activities and advance safety characterization.

Of course, TAPPI ensures it is also a memorable experience. The view from the Conference Dinner atop the Bastille was spectacular!