About 100 companies in Japan will work together to put nanocellulose, made from wood fibers, into practical use as a next-generation material, with one-fifth the weight of steel but about five times the strength.
Companies involved with its development include paper manufacturers, automakers, chemical companies and others.
They aim to utilize the new material for manufacturing auto parts, construction materials, artificial blood vessels and various other purposes.
Because nanocellulose is made mainly from wood chips, it is considered friendly to the environment. Thus, the government plans to support the development as part of its economic growth strategy.
Nanocellulose is made by chemically processing fibers contained in wood. The fibers are dissolved into pieces, each of which is measured on a nanometer scale. One nanometer is one-millionth of a meter and is about one-hundred-thousandths of the thickness of a human hair.