Featured Innovator: Dr. World Nieh Demonstrates the Need to Think Small to Achieve Big Ideas in Wood Products Industry

World Nieh, Photo Source IUFRO Division Conference

World Nieh, Photo Source IUFRO Division Conference

“So CLT is available now. Cellulose nanomaterials are about five years away. In 10 years, new products from the three major polymers of wood. Beyond 10 years, use your imagination. Anything can happen.” – Dr. World Nieh

When thinking about about wood, it’s easy to get caught up in the big picture: all-wood high-rises, CLT panels, Wood Energy. But sometimes, to really make a breakthrough in a field, you have to think small. In Dr. World Nieh’s case, that means thinking on the nano-level.

Dr. World Nieh is the Forest Products National Program Lead in the U.S. Forest Service’s R&D Deputy Area. He also represents the Forest Service in the National Nanotechnology Initiative, co-chairs the Biomass R&D Board inter-agency Conversions Workgroup, and co-chairs the inter-agency Sustainable Nano-manufacturing Signature Initiative.

These days, Dr. Nieh’s work is focused on developing new uses for wood such as cellulose nanomaterial technologies and low-rise buildings and bridges. But let’s take a step back and define what we mean when we say cellulose nanomaterial. Cellulose is an organic compound often used in the production of paperboard and paper that the USDA Forest Service defines as:

“Cellulose nanomaterials are primarily isolated from trees and other organisms; are naturally occurring polymeric materials that have demonstrated great promise for commercial applications across an array of industrial sectors; are renewable and environmentally sustainable; and have the potential to be produced in large volumes (i.e., millions of tons per year).

The commercialization of cellulose nanomaterials has the capacity to create hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs, particularly in rural America. The United States is currently in a good position to become a leading global source of commercial cellulose nanomaterials innovation, production, and use”

Some of the benefits of cellulose nanomaterials, as outlined by Dr. Nieh, include:

  • – Better potential to control flow properties when compared to synthetic materials (such as when used with pen ink).
  • – Safe for human body use in biological applications.
  • – Light weight yet strong (particularly of interest in the automobile industry.

As indicated in the Forest Service definition, Cellulose nanomaterials has the potential to be used in a variety of fields, a point which Dr. Nieh elaborated in his interview with Pallet Enterprises.

“Nanotechnology has become one of the hottest areas of research and development in wood utilization globally,” says Dr. World Nieh. “For example, in Japan, a certain type of cellulose nanomaterial is already used in gel ink for ballpoint pens as a thickener because it performs better than existing chemical products. Oil drilling (for mud removal and maintain well pressure), fruit coating (improve shelf life), concrete (improve strength), packaging (better surface quality for printing, better barrier properties) and products for the food industry (nontoxic) are a few examples of large volume cellulose nanomaterials markets.  In 10 years, we may be able to lower the cost of producing cellulosic liquid transportation fuel so everyone in the supply chain can make a profit.”

Dr. Nieh earned his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University, M.S. from Virginia Tech as well as studying at the Polymer Science Department of the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Forest Products Society (FPS), the Society of Wood Science and Technology (SWST) and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

For his ongoing work to help guide the vision of the U.S. Forest Service Forest and his ongoing research into potential long term breakthroughs in the wood industry, we name Dr. World Nieh our Feature Innovator of the Month!

Dr. World Nieh does not work for Willamette Valley Company nor is he affiliated with our company.

Sources:

http://www.iufrodiv5-2017.ca/

http://www.techconnectworld.com/

http://www.palletenterprise.com/

 

Much Deserved Accolades for Public Works Professionals During the 2017 Public Works Week

Public Works Week
Late last month, municipalities all over the country observed Public Works Week, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and innovations made possible by the men and women in the public works field.

Since 1960, The American Public Works Association has sponsored this week to educate the general public about the value and necessities of public works projects throughout North America. The 2017 National Public Works Week theme was “Public Works Connects Us” and celebrated the vital role public works plays in connecting us all together.

“As the cornerstone of civilization, public works provides, maintains, and improves the structures and services that assure a higher quality of life for our communities,” says the organization. “Its streets, roads, bridges, and public transportation keep us linked together from coast to coast, and its clean water and sanitation services keep us healthy and allow our communities to grow and prosper.”

WVCO is especially grateful to the Public Works field and we are proud to partner with organizations like The American Public Works Association which gives us access to the latest technologies and resources to better serve our industry.

So in honor of Public Works Week, and every week, WVCO salutes and thanks the tens of thousands of public works professionals who work tirelessly every day planning, building, managing and operating at the heart of their local communities to improve everyday quality of life. Keep reading to learn more about APWA and the many contributions made by public works professionals.

Read on to learn more about the APWA and the importance of Public Works in our society.

strong>What is public works? APWA defines it as: the combination of physical assets, management practices, policies, and personnel necessary for government to provide and sustain structures and services essential to the welfare and acceptable quality of life for its citizens.

APWA serves our industry in countless capacities; here are just 5 ways they impact communities on a local and national level:

1. APWA enables it’s members (made up of 29,000+ public works professionals) to bring important public works-related topics to public attention in local, state and federal arenas.

2. The organization educates the public on trends and emerging issues through their nationally sponsored educational programs, industry publications, professional development, training activities

3. The APWA Center for Sustainability now serves our industry as a primary resource on sustainability and sustainable practices for public works organizations across the United States and Canada.

4. APWA facilitates a forum for public works professionals to improve the performance of their agencies and companies, to discuss management techniques for everything from emergency management and water resources to transportation to fleet services and winter maintenance.

5. APWA members advocate for increased investment in public works and contribute their expertise to policy debates that significantly impact public works and our communities.

It is partnerships like the one we have with APWA that have allowed WVCO to emerge as a leader in our industry for decades.