Two companies will get $1.5 million in public funding to develop new technologies for the state’s forest products industry.

Go Lab Inc., based in Belfast, plans to produce wood fiber insulation at the former UPM paper mill in Madison, and Biofine Developments Northeast wants to convert wood biomass into a heating oil substitute in Bucksport. Paper mills in both towns closed in the last five years.

Each of the two companies was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute through the Emerging Technology Challenge for Maine’s Forest Resources, a competitive grant program launched in December.

“This innovation challenge was an opportunity for MTI to take an active role in helping to identify promising and innovative technologies to help address daunting challenges in one of our key industrial sectors,” institute President Brian Whitney said in a statement.

Forest Opportunity Roadmap, a group representing industry, local and state governments, higher education and nonprofits promoting innovation and new products to revitalize Maine’s forest products industry, collaborated with MTI on the grants. The grants require a minimum one-to-one funding match from other sources.

To qualify for the award companies had to make a strong business case and prove the technical and economic merit of their technology and benefits to Maine, the institute said.

Go Lab plans to produce wood fiber insulation that is renewable, nontoxic and recyclable but performs as well as insulation currently available.  The company plans to hire 100 workers and use 180,000 tons of softwood a year at the former paper mill in Madison.

Biofine Developments Northeast will develop its first large-scale biorefinery in Bucksport by converting wood biomass into an intermediate chemical that will allow production of a renewable heating oil substitute. Treadwell Franklin-Sewall, a Maine infrastructure finance firm, will aid Biofine Developments as consultants and the University of Maine will offer technical operations.

Peter McGuire can be contacted at (207) 791-6325 or at:

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