Cellulose fibers are five times stronger than wood and five times lighter than steel, giving car manufacturers the opportunity to create more reliable and lightweight cars that use less fuel or energy from batteries.
CNF-based materials bonded with special polymers or liquid resins can become a lighter and more environmentally friendly substitute for plastic and even other more durable materials. Cellulosic materials, which can be obtained from waste wood by its simple processing, can be stamped, molded and processed by other existing methods.
Researchers from the University of Kyoto, working on an order from the Japanese Ministry of Environmental Protection, developed the design and created a prototype supercar, the design of which used the maximum possible amount of materials from CNF. This car, called the Nanocellulose Vehicle (NCV), has a weight 10 percent less than the weight of the same car made from standard materials, while the amount of its carbon emissions into the atmosphere has decreased by 2,000 kilograms per year.
Currently, Japanese researchers are conducting all kinds of tests, both of individual components and of the entire “wooden” NCV car as a whole, in order to verify the strength, reliability and durability of these CNF materials. All the results obtained so far from these tests indicate the further prospects of their application, and some well-known companies, including Toyota, began to conduct their own research in this direction. If all of these global studies succeed, then CNF materials are likely to appear in production cars over the next few years.