An Orono company that is developing innovative products made from the building blocks of wood is among the recipients sharing a $1.3 million award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Revolution Research Inc. won $100,000 to design the manufacturing process for a bio-based ceiling tile that is durable, non-hazardous and can be composted. The tiles also must have higher insulation properties than conventional tiles, according to a Tuesday press release from the EPA. Twelve other companies were awarded grants of $100,000 under the Small Business Innovation Research program to develop green technology. If the first phase is successful, the companies will be eligible to apply for up to $300,000 to develop and commercialize their technology for the marketplace.

“The 13 businesses we are funding today are producing innovative and creative solutions for our country’s environmental problems,” said Thomas Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, in the release. “Small businesses play an integral role in creating technologies that will help ensure a sustainable future for our country.”

Revolution Research won the 2015 UMaine Business Challenge with its pitch to produce forest-based, environmentally friendly materials for the construction, insulation and food-packaging industries. Founded by Nadir Yildirim, a Ph.D. student at the University of Maine, and Chasse, a 2013 UMaine graduate in civil engineering, the company first developed foam insulation board made from natural resources that is 100 percent recyclable.

It also won $225,000 from the National Science Foundation last year, as well as smaller awards from competitions designed to encourage Maine entrepreneurship, such as the Top Gun program.

Yildirim presented at an October conference in Hiram that explored innovative uses for wood. Maine has 17 million acres of forest and a declining pulp and paper industry.


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