Lyman Morse, in Thomaston, and American Unagi, in Waldoboro, are among 10 businesses receiving grants from the Maine Technology Institute (MTI). The funds derive from the Maine Technology Asset Fund 2.5 (MTAF2.5) program. The MTAF2.5 Program is financed by a bond approved by voters in June 2017 that MTI manages on behalf of the State of Maine. With these awards, MTI also augmented the bond funds with $202,099 of its core funding.
Projects span new innovations in Maine’s traditional industries, from agriculture, forest products, and boatbuilding, to innovations in aquaculture and precision manufacturing. The $2,160,099 in funded projects will create and retain over 1,600 jobs across the State of Maine from the north (Limestone and Madawaska), south (Springvale), and east (Eastport), as well as points in between (Brewer, Brunswick, Lisbon, Thomaston, Waldoboro and Westbrook).
The 10 awards will be matched by $31,985,196 in private sector matching funds (14:1 matching ratio). They span eight Maine counties and intersect with all seven of the state’s targeted technology sectors.
During the application period, MTI received 84 MTAF2.5 proposals seeking approximately $25 million in funding. Applications flowed in from 15 of Maine’s 16 counties, as well as 6 proposals from out-of-state entities seeking to establish operations in Maine. MTI received proposals from companies of all maturity levels, from startups to mature enterprises, as well as in all seven of the state’s targeted technology sectors.
Projects approved went through extensive due diligence, with primary focus on the stated desired economic outputs of growth or retention of market share, increased revenues, expanded employment and retained jobs and the feasibility of the proposed projects to achieve their projected outputs.
American Unagi received $175,000
Total Project Cost: $500,000
American Unagi’s MTAF2.5 request is to increase value-added capabilities by expanding current processing equipment and adding new processing equipment to increase product options/output, expand market reach, and add more employment opportunities.
Lyman Morse Award Amount: $140,000
Total Project Cost: $407,060
Contact: Joshua Moore (207) 230-8567
Lyman-Morse Fabrication plans to reconfigure and modernize its workshop to increase efficiency and capacity, attract new business, and add to its workforce. By adding a clean, dedicated location for aluminum fabrication work, converting existing office space to a workshop area, and establishing a new area for business and management operations, this division of Lyman Morse Boatbuilding, Inc., will accelerate the growth trajectory Lyman-Morse Fabrication has been on since it was established in 2005 and allow it to attract follow-on funding through new customers and additional company investment.
Farming Fungi Award Amount: $42,700
Springvale, York County
Total Project Cost: $279,000
Farming Fungi will develop an Internet of Things (IOT)-based indoor agriculture control system. Low cost, high quality grow control system IOT-based software, running on commercial-off-the- shelf hardware with configurable in-room sensing and display devices and ability to monitor and control conventional non-communicating HVAC and facility equipment for all forms of controlled indoor agriculture – produce, fruit, horticulture, mushrooms & aquaculture. Algorithms sense and manage CO2, light, temperature, humidity, air exchange, nutrient dosing, water chemistry, etc. Eliminates expensive hand wiring of controls, signals and actuators. Supports lot traceability and continuous process improvement. Costs 50 to 75% per installation less than traditional hardwired agricultural control systems.
Eastport Port Authority Award Amount $307,500 Eastport, Washington County Total Project Cost: $938,516 Contact: Chris Gardner (207) 853-4614
The project will allow final full phase testing of a first of its kind patented shipboard heat- treating system developed in conjunction with, and licensed exclusively to, the Eastport Port Authority. This is the final phase of over 10 million dollars of investment made over the past decade to expand Maine forest products exports. Upon final trials, the Port of Eastport and its partners will open and facilitate trading access for the Maine forest products industry to export underutilized Maine fiber to the European Union for renewable energy/combined heat and power projects.
STARC Systems Award Amount: $307,500 Brunswick, Cumberland County Total Project Cost: $4,572,625 Contact: George Kiesewetter (207) 844-6179
STARC Systems has found a major market opportunity for Infection Isolation solutions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 within hospitals. Sales of panels for Isolation drove March and April, up over 200% to last year. With this new demand on top of its existing Renovation business (up 87% in 2019), they need to invest in automated equipment to reduce machining bottlenecks, manage a larger, more complex product assortment and increase the availability of equipment and labor for R&D on isolation-specific solutions.
Nyle Systems Award Amount: $142,981 Brewer, Penobscot County Total Project Cost: $677,950 Contact: Antonius Mathissen (207) 989-4335
Nyle is investing to double its production space to meet demand; increase efficiencies and enhance its new product development capabilities. They will build a test chamber for new product development; create food drying testing laboratory; build larger paint room; install electrical & gas lines; buy and install air ventilation system for expanded welding department; remodel office to accommodate growing headcount, etc. Nyle will also obtain production equipment to increase capacity and build efficiencies/reduce unit costs. For example: More advanced finished product test set-up; copper pipe bender; pipe reducing machine; press break; shear; overhead crane; automated refrigeration charging station; etc.
North Spore Award Amount: $164,418 Westbrook, Cumberland Total Project Cost: $438,670 Contact: Eliah Thanhauser (207) 266-0203
North Spore is seeking equipment and infrastructure improvements to its laboratory to expand production capacity. North Spore utilizes forestry and agricultural byproducts to produce value added mushroom growing supplies bringing in out-of-state revenue. MTAF 2.5 funding will assist in further commercialization supporting Maine suppliers and bring revenue and high-paying jobs into the state.
Acadian Composite Materials Award Amount: $280,000 Limestone, Aroostook County Total Project Cost: $912,000 Contact: Ben Davis (207) 502-0173
Acadian Composite Materials disrupts the construction industry by creating a long-lasting and high performance structural insulated panel (“SIP”) from recycled single-use beverage bottles. EcoSIP fabricates SIPs through its proprietary composite technology process. EcoSIP is a cost- effective alternative to typical “stick frame” building shells, with a lower cost of materials and construction time. EcoSIP also provides superior performance in terms of insulation value and ultimately energy savings. Furthermore, EcoSIP is completely made in Aroostook County, expanding the product line of an existing business. EcoSIP will help make Maine a leader in green building technology.
Twin Rivers Paper Company Award Amount: $300,000 Madawaska, Aroostook County Total Project Cost: $19,200,000 Contact: Brian McAlary (207) 728-8002
Twin Rivers installed a pilot unit in 2017 to prove the feasibility of its state-of-the-art technology to focus on growth-oriented market segments to preserve jobs in the State of Maine. The success of the pilot justified Twin Rivers’ plans to invest approximately $20MM in paper machine 8 (PM8) to dramatically enhance the machine's capabilities and broaden the markets served by the largest asset in the Twin Rivers paper mill system. The rebuild will establish PM8 as one of the largest producers of lightweight technical packaging and label specialties in North
America, ideally positioned to support strategic growth initiatives while strengthening the Company's industry-leading lineup of hybrid and freesheet lightweight publishing grades.
Springworks Farm Maine
Lisbon, Androscoggin County Sierra Kenkel (406) 261-5621
Award Amount: $300,000 Total Project Cost: $4,059,375
Springworks was founded in 2013 to improve the way our food is produced, distributed, and enjoyed. Its unique aquaponic system grows organically certified lettuce, fish, and fertilizer cost- effectively, while producing twenty times more greens per acre and using less than a tenth of the water compared to conventional agriculture. Springworks is fortunate to work with excellent partners in retail (Hannaford, Whole Foods) and foodservice (Performance Food Group, Sysco, etc.). With the help of MTI, they plan to expand their facilities again to serve their customer’s demand and create jobs in Lisbon.