A startup planning to manufacture wood-fiber insulation that is less toxic to firefighters than conventional carbon-based products is raising $85 million in tax-exempt “green bonds” to rehab the former Madison paper mill that closed in 2016.
GO Lab Madison LLC, which will operate the factory, also said it has chosen Pittsfield-based construction company Cianbro Corp. to rehabilitate the mill. The work is expected to start in the next two weeks, a GO Lab spokesperson said. Cianbro originally built the mill.
In February the company received 80 shipping containers housing its entire production line with equipment from Germany. The insulation will be made from softwood chips and be used in the residential and light commercial construction markets.
The company plans to start producing TimberHP-brand loose fill insulation in the first quarter of 2023, followed by wood fiber batt in the second quarter of that year and board products in the third quarter. It said it will be the first wood buffer insulation manufacturer in North America. The company said earlier that it expects annual revenue of about $70 million.
It currently has 10 employees, which it expects to expand to 120 when it is fully operational, the company spokesperson said.
The bonds will be issued by the Finance Authority of Maine after they are priced in early December. Among previous financial support to develop and test its insulation, the company received a $250,000 US Forest Service award and a $750,000 Emerging Technology grant from the Maine Technology Institute, both in 2019. The bonds will complete its Series A equity fundraising. It expects institutional investors to buy the bonds.
GO Lab said it qualifies for the “green bonds” designation because it will use residual softwood chips, which are the waste stream from timber harvesting and saw milling, to make the insulation. It said earlier that the factory will consume about 180,000 tons of softwood chips annually.