Media report on UMaine’s new Biomass to Bioproducts Pilot Plant

The Bangor Daily News, Portland Press Herald, WABI (Channel 5), Mainebiz and WLBZ (Channel 2) reported on the new Biomass to Bioproducts Pilot Plant at the University of Maine’s Technology Research Center in Old Town. Biofine Technology, a Massachusetts company focused on making liquid fuel, chemicals and other advanced materials from wood, intends to build a commercial plant in the new industrial complex, according to the BDN. On Wednesday, the pilot plant capable of processing up to 1 ton of woody biomass per day into chemicals to make biofuels and biochemicals, underwent advanced testing. The plant was on track to operate for 100 hours, a step to help prove its ability to operate at a commercial scale, the Press Herald reported. Hemant Pendse, director of UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute, said the pilot project will give the company information necessary to move ahead with commercializing its operation. The company acquired the pilot plant in the wake of the Old Town mill’s bankruptcy and paid $200,000 to move it to UMaine’s nearby research facility, media reported.

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King also released a statement on the pilot plant. “This launch not only represents another positive development for the future of Maine’s bioeconomy, but it also serves as a great example of how the private sector can partner with educational institutions, government entities, and the forest products industry to spearhead pioneering research that will accelerate commercialization of new technology,” the joint release states. “We applaud the University of Maine’s Technology Research Center and Biofine on this milestone and look forward to following the project’s progress in the coming years.”