Micro- and nanocelluloses from non-wood waste sources; processes and use in industrial applications
In addition to renewability and abundance, nanocellulose materials have tremendous (and variable) properties for different applications, ranging from bulk applications, such as paper and packaging reinforcement, to emerging high added-value applications, such as substrates for optoelectronics. Lignocellulosic biomass from agricultural and industrial waste sources is readily available and shows great promise as an inexpensive and sustainable raw material for nanocellulose production. However, the understanding of the potential of using non-wood based biowaste sources is not established and systematic comparisons of versatile agricultural and industrial waste sources can elucidate this complex topic. Here we present an overview of the most studied and most promising sources from agro-industrial waste, the processes to convert them into nanocellulose, some of the established and emerging applications, and discuss the advancements that are still needed for large-scale production. Sugarcane bagasse and oil palm empty fruit bunch have been the most researched waste-based sources for nanocellulose production and demonstrate the most promise due to availability and access. Industrial sources seem to have advantages over agricultural sources in collectability and ease of access. This work gives insight on the potential and the challenges of nanocellulose production from waste sources and discusses how the criteria set for nanocellulose materials in different applications can be met, thus opening new routes for circular economy.