Bangor-based Biofine Developments of Northeast Inc. has plans to produce locally sourced, renewable and emission-free heating oil by 2023.
The company hopes to make a biofuel made from 100 percent ethyl levulinate, an organic chemical compound, by processing woody fiber waste from paper and lumber mills, according to the Portland Press Herald. The biofuel, which would be called EL100, would be created with 100 tons of cellulose-based waste per day, and the company estimates that it would produce about 3 million gallons of heating oil per year.
If such fuel could be made at competitive prices, heating oil could be locally made and renewable, a significant development for Maine, where nearly two-thirds of homes still rely on heating oil as a primary heating source.
Biofine told the Press Herald that the heating oil is emissions free and can be used safely in existing equipment, following a trial at University of Maine at Presque Isle. They hope to finalize a site for their refinery in the next month.
This is not the first attempt that has been made to create cellulose-based biofuels in Maine. For years, there has been a concerted push across the U.S. to replace petroleum-based fuel with plant-based biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the nation’s reliance on foreign oil, which has led to multiple attempts at biorefineries in the state.
No wood-based fuel production has yet taken off, however.