Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, a cofounder of the Working Forest Caucus, applauded today’s announcement by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) Board of Directors that it is awarding a total of $1.5 million to two Maine forest products companies. The funding stemmed from MTI’s collaboration with the Forest Opportunities Roadmap (FOR/Maine) Initiative, which Senators Collins and King have championed.
“We applaud this substantial investment in two Maine companies that have developed innovative uses for forest products. These cutting-edge technologies will help sustain and create Maine jobs in rural communities, bolster our forest products industry, and benefit our environment and our economy,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Maine’s forests continue to be a vital part of our state’s economy, and we look forward to continuing to support these efforts to help Maine’s forest economy thrive for generations to come.”
GO Lab, Inc, and Biofine Developments Northeast (BDNE) were each awarded $750,000 to support their groundbreaking technologies that make use of Maine’s abundant forest resources and supply chain:
· GO Lab, a building products manufacturer in Belfast, makes insulation from wood fiber that is renewable, recyclable, nontoxic, and performs as well, or better than, other available insulations. GO Lab’s production facility, located at the former UPM paper mill in Madison, will consume 180,000 tons of softwood chips annually, create 100 jobs, and generate approximately $70 million in annual revenue.
· BDNE is developing the first large scale bio-refinery deploying Biofine’s technology in Bucksport. This plant will enable the conversion of woody biomass to the chemical intermediate, levulinic acid allowing economic production of a completely renewable heating oil substitute. Biofine will work with Treadwell Franklin-Sewall as development consultants and the University of Maine at Orono for technical operations.
In 2016, Senators Collins and King called on the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT),that would work across agencies and sectors to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. The creation of the EDAT and its subsequent studies and research led to the EDA and the U.S. Forest Service providing funding for the 2018 FOR/Maine Initiative.