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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