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EHSC's 'Plants to Products' Initiative Secures Funds to Promote Production of Bio-based Chemicals

Published on 2014-06-19. Author : SpecialChem

FREEPORT, Maine -- The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant for an innovative project to promote biobased manufacturing in Maine recently, which aims to convert sustainably harvested wood chips and agricultural waste into value-added renewable chemicals, biobased plastics, and advanced biofuels.

"We applaud the foundation for investing in Maine's future – good jobs, safer products, healthier communities, and environmental sustainability," said Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, nonprofit organization that leads the "Plants to Products" initiative. The grant will be used to work with Biobased Maine (a business-led trade association formerly known as the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine), the University of Maine, and other stakeholders to develop a road map to accelerate biobased manufacturing in the state.

Global demand is rapidly rising for everyday materials made from renewable biomass rather than oil, gas and coal. By leveraging Maine's assets – abundant natural resources, idle industry, innovative research and hard workers – the state can seize significant market share in the growing biobased economy. The promise of "Plants to Products" includes new jobs to revitalize Maine's rural communities, and new products that slash fossil carbon pollution and replace toxic petrochemicals now used to make most plastics and synthetic materials.

Later this year, an innovative Maine company will take a critical first step toward building a robust biobased manufacturing sector. Old Town Fuel and Fiber will break ground on one of the first demonstration plants in the world to turn wood chips into simple sugars, which are nature's chemical building blocks. Other members of the Biobased Maine trade association (and their locations) include Tom's of Maine (Sanford), True Textiles (Guilford), Grow-Tech (South Portland), Cerealus (Waterville), and the University of Maine's Forest Bioproducts Research Institute in Orono.

About The Environmental Health Strategy Center

The Environmental Health Strategy Center promotes human health and safer chemicals in a sustainable economy. It uses the work products accessed on the website pages to raise public awareness, develop champions for change, and organize its partners to work together for healthy people and a healthy economy.

Source: EHSC

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