While abundant in nature, cellulose is difficult and expensive to find in pure or high-quality form. A Swedish research team has developed an efficient, accurate, and non-destructive way to detect the occurrence and purity of cellulose. The technique can be applied in mixtures of biopolymers as well.
Not being able to accurately assess the quality and purity is making recycling and manufacturing processes more difficult and less efficient. This leads to unnecessary waste in recycling – which is costly and damaging to the environment. It also means that it is difficult to monitor the quality of the breakdown of cellulose to biogas.