ORONO — University of Maine researchers have devised a new chemical process that can transform forest residues, along with other materials such as municipal solid waste and construction wastes, into a hydrocarbon fuel oil.

Researchers have long looked at waste products as sources of biofuel. In Maine, that could include treetops and limbs that the forest products industry has left behind in the woods because they were considered unusable.

UMaine Associate Professor M. Clayton Wheeler and his research team have created a chemical process that can transform those forest residues along with other materials into a hydrocarbon fuel oil.

The university says the new fuel has the possibility of 120 million gallons per year of gasoline, diesel, heating oil and kerosene mixtures while providing steam and power needs of the processing plants.