$100M biorefinery proposal at former Lincoln paper mill site advances with lease agreement

March 23, 2023

By Laurie Schreiber

The Lincoln Town Council voted to approve a 20-year lease between the town and Biofine Developments Northeast for a biofuels refinery on the site of the former Lincoln Pulp & Tissue Mill, now known as the Lincoln Technology Park.

Construction is expected to commence by July 2024, in the first phase of a long-term plan, according to a news release Wednesday.

The project is expected to require a private sector investment of over $100 million and to create over 160 jobs. Subsequent phases could result in the ultimate creation of nearly 500 jobs and substantial additional private investment.

Biofine develops bio-refinery projects utilizing proprietary processes developed by Biofine Technology LLC.

Biofine’s proprietary technology derives heating and transportation fuel from low-quality woody biomass – which comprises pre-commercial thinnings and production leavings, or “slash,” and/or from post-consumer paper waste.

The fuel produced by the process is called ethyl levulinate.

According to Biofine, the fuel is the single lowest carbon-intensity liquid fuel commercially available anywhere in the world. Biofine has successfully demonstrated the technology over many years in association with the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute at the University of Maine.

Biofine will produce 3 million gallons of ethyl levulinate annually, along with coproducts levulinic acid and biochar, from 125 tons per day of cellulosic wood waste. Plans for subsequent phases are projected to increase production approximately 10-fold.

Ethyl levulinate “is an important transitional and long-term renewable biofuel that accretes value to producers and end-users alike for decades to come,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, Biofine’s CEO.

The lease deal took place after many months of negotiations and working through numerous siting issues.

“We view this significant biorefinery project as just the beginning of an exciting economic revitalization of the old mill site, with other beneficial projects to come,” said Town Council Chair George Edwards.

The former Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill site is approximately 387 acres. Now part of the Lincoln Technology Park, the site is envisioned as a center for next-generation technology-driven industries.

Biofine, established in 2019, is a subsidiary of Brookline, Mass.-based Biofine Technologies Inc., which has developed the refining processes.

Its technology has been supported by state agencies and enterprises that include a grant from Maine Technology Institute and technical development support from the University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Institute for the commercialization of Biofine’s patented process.

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Comment by Penny Gray on March 27, 2023 at 12:36pm

Cate Street comes to mind...this is a very new company that is no doubt mining the subsidies to fund their "proprietary" processes.

Slash belongs in the woods.  The health of our forests deteriorates every year that slash is chipped and transported off site.

Comment by Brad Blake on March 27, 2023 at 2:00am

This will be a great employment development for an economically distressed region if it succeeds.  I am wary of their projections of large future growth.  Hundreds of Lincoln Lakes region people drive up to an hour for jobs in Bangor, so 160 jobs added back to Lincoln would help a lot.  Better to embrace this economic development than what the Town of Lincoln did for easing the way for the Rollins Wind boondoggle, especially the disastrous TIF that was granted to First Wind.  When the paper mill closed, the Town of Lincoln regretted giving away nearly all the tax valuation of Rollins.  Fools!  I tried to warn them.

Comment by Dan McKay on March 25, 2023 at 4:44am

I smell subsidy money from Biden's Infrastructure Act and a belly-up act following.


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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


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