About FBRI

FBRI’s Vision: To advance understanding about the scientific underpinnings, system behavior, and policy implications for the production of forest-based bioproducts that meet societal needs for materials, chemicals and fuels in an economically and ecologically sustainable manner.

In March of 2006, UMaine received a $6.9 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which required a 50 percent ($3.45 million) match by the university through the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. The grant, “Investing in Maine Research Infrastructure: Sustainable Forest Bioproducts,” addresses the pressing issues of our time: replacements for fossil fuels, renewable energy, green chemicals — and creative uses of sustainable resources: in this case, trees.

A Forest Based Biorefinery


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The ultimate goal is to build research infrastructure that creates a forest-based biorefinery in Maine, using trees instead of oil to make fuel…but not just fuel. UMaine wants to augment the pulp and paper and building products industries with new revenue streams of high-profit margin chemicals, plastics and nanotechnology products as well as new sources of energy. Best of all, these bioproducts would leave a smaller, lighter ecological footprint.

“Advances in science, coupled with better understanding of the ecosystem, the biology of tree growth and the chemistry of breaking wood down, allow us to approach forest biorefining more efficiently than we have in the past,” says Stephen Shaler, a UMaine professor of wood sciences and technology. “Almost anything that is now made from petroleum, can now also be made from wood.”

The University of Maine has marshalled a broad array of campus researchersscientists and partnerships to create energy solutions and fossil fuel replacement products with science and technology that is grounded in responsible forest and ecosystem management.