FBRI’s research areas involve science, inquiry, and product development from the forest floor to the factory floor.
Using National Science Foundation funding to create a Forest Bioproducts Research Institute (FBRI), the University of Maine has marshalled a broad array of scientists as well as business partnerships and research partnerships to create fossil fuel reduction solutions focused on sustainable forest management and the creation of innovative bioproducts. The most talked about bioproducts are fuels like ethanol but perhaps the most dramatic opportunity lies in the fact that almost everything that is now made from petroleum can also be made from wood: fuels, energy, chemicals, composites, coatings, and plastics.
Project faculty and students from the School of Forest Resources are working with Maine’s Forest Service on wood supply and management strategies. Social science and resource economics faculty are surveying the state’s forest landowners to understand their concerns and needs.
Chemists, engineering and wood scientists are experimenting to unlock high value wood components and then recombine them in products that provide fuels, chemicals, and other wood based products that could all be produced in one location (in a biorefinery).
What Research Challenges Direct Us Toward a Sustainable Bio-Economy?
- The need for sustainable production of materials and energy from renewable resources and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is urgent
- Maine’s landowners seek new ways to create new markets for underutilized wood species and new options to support Maine’s forests as undeveloped landscapes.
- Rural communities seek solutions to retrofit local industrial assets in ways that provide employment to current and future generations.
- Maine’s science and technology community is eager to grow a talented pool of students and researchers who can deliver practical environmental and commercial successes.
- Surface Modification of Wood Polymer Composites
- Near InfraRed Woody Biomass
- Delignification for Xylan for Enzymatic Hydrolysis
- Analytical Methodology for Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Xylan
- Molecular Modeling of Redox Chemistry of Lignin-Carbohydrate Compounds
- Computer Docking of Substrates and Inhibitors with Xylanase and Laccase
- Fabrication and Testing of Biobased and Synthetic Sheet Molding Compound (SMC)
- New Enzymes for Biopulping
- Composite Materials From Chemically Modified Wood
- Biological Modification of Cellulose
- Landowner and Public Acceptance of Bio-products in Maine
- Development of Model Cellulose Substrates
- Innovation Reaction Schemes and Technologies
- Characterization and Upgrading Pyrolyis Oils from Woody Biomass
- Fuels and Chemicals from Woody Biomass-Derived Syngas
- Micro-Array Combinatorial Catalyst Screening
- Biomass Harvesting
- Incremental Biomass Harvesting
- Fermentation of Pulp Mill-derived Hemicellulose Extract to Ethanol
- Recovery of acetic acid from pulp mill-derived hemicellulose extract
- Mixed acid fermentation of pulp mill-derived hemicellulose extract
- Modeling the Environmental Implications of Emerging Industrial Ecology-based Bio-refinery System
- A Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment of Cellulosic Nanofibers Used in Green Building Materials
- Modeling the Sustainability of Wood-Based Bio-refinery and its Supply Chain
- Life Cycle Assessment of Wood Chips for Biofuels Production
- Coupling LCA and GIS for biodiversity assessments of forest resource based bioethanol production
- A System Approach to Sustainable Supply Chains of Bio-fuels
- Literature Review on Forest Capacity for Fuel Production in Maine and New England
- Prehydrolysis of Phenyl Glycosidic Bonds in Wood Chips
- Control of Glucomanne Solubility
- Enzyme Enhancement in the Production of Microfibrilated Cellulose
- Conversion of Hemicellulose Extract into Ethanol