$4.8M will upgrade Forest Bioproducts Research Institute facilities, bolster bioproduct research
The University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI) will upgrade its Technology Research Center (TRC) in Old Town and Process Development Center (PDC) in Jenness Hall to bolster ongoing efforts to create new bioproducts, increase production and find uses for woody biomass materials typically considered waste.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) awarded FBRI $4.8 million for its research in crafting renewable fuel, heating oil, chemicals, plastics and other goods from woody biomass at a large scale. Institute director Hemant Pendse says his team will invest about $2 million in processing technology infrastructure improvements for the off-campus TRC facility, as well as the on-campus PDC facility, with the balance supporting ongoing research.
Equipment added to TRC, located on the pulp mill site in Old Town, will help researchers process biochar, charcoal derived from the pyrolysis of wood, as well as pre-process biomass. Upgrades at PDC will boost nanocellulose production.
“It’s a significant upgrade in our pilot-scale infrastructure,” says Dr. Pendse, FBRI director and also a chemical engineering professor. “This significant investment will allow us to rapidly advance development in several major areas of ongoing research.”