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Record attendance at BDC Spring Symposium in Maine

(Editor’s Note: Based on a May 9, 2014, news release from the Bioenergy Deployment Consortium.)

The Bioenergy Deployment Consortium (BDC) had record attendance at its Spring Symposium held in Bangor, Maine, April 7–9, as about 50 members and guests met to tour and learn more about the Old Town Fuel and Fiber’s (OTFF) upcoming commercial plant to be built on site, and be updated on commercial progress in the bio-industry.

Darrell Waite, Manager of OTFF, gave the tour and provided information at the symposium. Attendees toured the OTFF facility on Wednesday morning and the University of Maine’s Forest Bio-Products Research Institute (FBRI) Technical Research Center, located on the same site, on Monday afternoon.


OTFF was a focus this year for the pulp and paper members who recognize the potential opportunity for utilizing shut down or underutilized equipment in their companies to provide a new stream of revenue.


OTFF’s process uses a shut down pulp digester and washer line with added process equipment, to fractionate cellulose which is then converted to very pure sugars that initially will be converted to ethanol, but can be converted to higher value products. The separated lignin joins the mill’s black liquor and goes to the recovery boiler on site for energy generation and chemical recovery. The process has potential to be utilized throughout the pulp and paper industry where assets are available.

The University of Maine’s Forest Bio-Products Research Institute (FBRI) Technical Research Center, under the leadership of Hemant Pendse, has been a key partner to OTFF’s progress. The center is a 40,000-square-foot, high-bay facility that houses a broad range of small pilot bioprocesses. It features state-of-the-art process control and process information systems and is capable of biomass size reduction and screening through physical processes; biomass pretreatment through chemical processes; extraction of sugars and fibers for pulping; fermentation, distillation, liquid-liquid extraction, and microfiltration to separate complex liquids; and biomass pelletizing.

In addition to Old Town Fuel and Fiber, the symposium also featured representatives from UPM (keynote presentation), Licella, Fiberight, Velocys, Renmatix, Green Biologics, TRI, and Borregaard/LignoTech. The U.S. Navy, DOE, and USDA provided updates on government policies, and Andritz described a special success story about their innovative and intriguing High Energy Recovery Boiler. Presentations are posted on the BDC website (

The Bioenergy Deployment Consortium began in 2006 as a regional effort, but in 2010 became a national non-profit organization that provides unbiased informational and brokering services throughout the year regarding the deployment of bioprocesses. In 2013, BDC won the 2013 Climate Control Business Journal Achievement Award under the category “Project Merit: Renewable & Low-Carbon Power.”

BDC offers two symposia each year in locations where members can tour a relevant biofacility. For more information on the Symposium or about BDC, visit: or contact Ben Thorp (, or Harry Seamans, (


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