Maine wood composites partnership awarded $20-million DOE grant

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In Maine, a partnership between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center to create produce 3D printing materials from forest products has received $20 million in funds from the Department of Energy.

The grant will be used to develop biomaterials that can be used in building components, boats and boat hull molds, wind blades, and shelters.

“While Oak Ridge is a global leader in additive manufacturing, the University of Maine is an expert in bio-based composites. By working together, they will strengthen environmentally responsible advanced manufacturing in America as well as helping the forest industry in the state of Maine,” Senator Susan Collins said at a kick-off event in Washington DC.

In October, ORNL’s will install a 3D printer at UMaine to aid with the work. The first task will be making a boat mold out of wood-based plastic.

“The University of Maine is doing cutting-edge research related to bio-feedstocks and the application of advanced manufacturing in regional industries,” said Thomas Zacharia, the director of ORNL. “We are thrilled at this opportunity to expand our research base while providing UMaine with access to the leading national capabilities we have developed at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.”

Maine has been active in forest products research as it seeks to revive its forest products industry.