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New Research Center Opens At UMaine 

Some on hand called it “A Celebration of Innovation” as the University of Maine showed off its new Technology Research Center in Old Town.A building which was once part of Old Town Fuel and Fiber is now home to the Forest Bioproducts Research Institute.And the goal is to grow it into a commercial entity.Before the tour of the facility US Representaive Mike Michaud told the crowd, “You’re going to be extremely impressed with what you see behind this wall and where it’s going to lead us as a state and as a country.”Local, state and national leaders in politics, industry and education were on hand to learn more about the Research Center and what it can mean not only the area, but beyond as a place where ideas become reality.”That’s what you’ll see in this facility not just local or regional commercialization,” said UMaine President Paul Ferguson. “But the commercialization and technology transfer that truly will impact the nation and the economy of the nation.”UMaine has worked with the pulp and paper industry in this state for the last century and their goal is for this collaboration to continue that link, and put more people to work in Maine.”The researchers that are here is definitely a way we can keep our younger population here in the state of Maine to help Maine grow longer term,” said Representaive Michaud.”There’s a lot of support within the state to help more technologies, this Technology Resource Center, I look at it like a hub,” said Scott Eaton, a Ph.D Chemical Engineering student at the school and the Director of Science and Research. “There’s a lot of activity that feeds into this and hopefully we’re able to spur innovation and commercialization of these ideas and keep it within the state.”Maine is the most forested state in the nation, and for years Mainers have used the woods as a workplace, The Center will use wood products with a goal of expanding the scope of this natural resource.”The new Technology Research Center will play a key role in turning new concepts and ideas into a new commercial technology for wood suppliers and wood users as well,” said Representative Michaud.As of now Old Town Fuel and Fiber is the only facility in the world able to extract some of the sugars and chemicals from the wood to be used in hopes of using them in other applications.