Washington, D.C. - At a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on defense innovation and research, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, commended the University of Maine for its trailblazing research on biofuels and composites. Many of the University of Maine’s breakthroughs have a variety of applications for the military.
During the hearing, Senator Collins told Deputy Secretary Of Defense Robert Work that the University of Maine’s efforts to advance woody biomass fuels can help the Pentagon achieve its goal of diversifying its fuel sources. The Department of Defense recently made a major investment in the Technology Research Center of the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) at the University of Maine. The funding will support promising wood-to-jet-fuel technology that is based on a process patented by FBRI.
“The University of Maine’s woody biomass fuel program is on the cutting edge of these alternative fuel technologies, and indeed just last year the Defense Logistics Agency awarded a $3.3 million contract to the University of Maine for research on woody biomass being converted to jet fuels,” said Senator Collins.
Senator Collins also praised the University of Maine’s work to develop advanced materials and composite structures. For years, the University of Maine has collaborated with the Department of Defense to incorporate these discoveries into ballistic protections for soldiers serving in combat zones, lightweight building materials for specialized military ships and vehicles, and rapidly deployable bridges.
“Several of my colleagues have mentioned the importance of composites, and they brought up great examples in their states, but the best example, of course, is in the State of Maine,” Senator Collins continued. “Just to cite one of the many success stories, a five-year R&D effort with the Army Natick Center led to the development and adoption of the modular ballistic protection system, which provides lightweight and rapid protection for soldiers in expeditionary basecamps. A lead program engineer at the Natick Center noted that this technology has also been leveraged to protect embassies and consulates around the world, so this research has led to benefits that go beyond the Department of Defense.”