The Bangor Daily News, WABI (Channel 5), WLBZ (Channel 2) and WVII (Channel 7) were among several news organizations to report on the University of Maine’s unveiling Wednesday of a floating platform of VolturnUS, a first-of-its-kind offshore wind turbine. The turbine will be deployed off Maine’s coast at the end of the month and will be the first grid-connected floating wind turbine in North America and the first concrete-composite floating turbine in the world, according to Habib Dagher, director of the UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center. North American Windpower also carried a report.
Archive for the ‘Research’ Category
Mainebiz reported Lewiston startup Karkos Group LLC is working on a prototype blender that’s quieter than the competition in the commercial and high-end home blender markets. Using a seed grant, the business had independent tests of its motor run by the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center against other commercial blenders.
The Bangor Daily News cited a University of Maine economic study in the article “Futuristic Quantum-class cruise ship to be largest ever to visit Portland when it arrives in 2015.” The study found the 31 ships that visited Portland in 2008 generated between $5.8 million and $8 million in the Greater Portland economy and supported between 70 and 110 jobs.
A University of Maine study commissioned by Maine Equal Justice Partners was cited in the Press Herald article “Maine Speaker calls bill pathway out of poverty.” The study found a provision enacted last June by Gov. Paul LePage that limits Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to 60 months has caused 1,500 families to lose assistance. The study showed 39 percent of those who lost benefits reported a work-limiting disability and more than 40 percent had less than a high school education.
Movie lights and cameras have resulted in economic action in Maine.
University of Maine economist Todd Gabe says including multiplier effects, film and photography sectors contributed nearly $118 million to the statewide economy in 2010, as well as 2,057 full- and part-time jobs, and $33.1 million in salaries.
The total financial impact of movie production and photography in Maine in 2010 was similar to the amount grossed that year by Shutter Island — $128 million.
A few scenes of that mystery-thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley were shot in Maine. The $128 million grossed by Shutter Island was good for 20thoverall among movies in 2010. (Toy Story 3 was tops at the box office that year, grossing more than $415 million.)
In 2010, Gabe says movie and photography industries directly supported 1,698 jobs in Maine — including people working full- and part-time for film production companies and photography businesses, as well as self-employed people. The jobs, he says, provided about $19.6 million in salaries.
“Maine is a great state for filmmakers and the entire state benefits from a vibrant film industry,” says Karen Carberry Warhola, director of the Maine Film Office. “Creating conditions to encourage filmmaking in Maine can be economically advantageous to the state.”
Nationwide in 2010, including multiplier effects, the U.S motion picture and television industry supported 2.1 million jobs and $143 billion in wages, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
A multiplier is when an increase in spending in a given industry initiates a flow of expenditures to other companies and workers that generates more economic activity.
The Maine Attraction Film Incentive Program, adopted in 2006, gave tax reimbursements and credits to companies involved with eight projects involving video or photo shoots in the state in 2012, and 17 in 2011. The projects resulted in approximately 108 full- and part-time jobs in 2012 and 281 in 2011, Gabe says.
Including multiplier effects, Gabe says projects supported by the Maine Attraction Film Incentive Program during 2011 and 2012 generated a total statewide economic contribution of $11.6 million in output, an average per year of 195 full- and part-time jobs and 3.4 million in wages.
Gabe has conducted a number of studies about the impact of entertainment and tourism-related industries on local economies, including the Waterfront Concert Series in Bangor and cruise ship passengers in Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. This study was conducted with input from the Maine Film Office.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The Virginian-Pilot interviewed Mary Madden, an education professor and co-director of the National Collaborative for Hazing Research and Prevention at the University of Maine, for an article on a deadly hazing incident at Virginia State University. Madden said groups such as fraternities appear prestigious to many young college students because they seem exclusive and give students a community.
Mainebiz recently published the article “UMaine project unlocks nanofiber potential.” The article included information about the university’s research and its new Cellulose Nanofiber Pilot Plant — the nation’s first. John Wolanski, chairman of the UMaine Pulp & Paper Foundation; Michael Bilodeau, director at UMaine’s Process Development Center; and Jake Ward, UMaine’s vice president of innovation and economic development, were quoted in the article.
Growing up in Kars, a heavily wooded city in northeast Turkey, Alper Kiziltas appreciated nature and understood the importance of natural resources at an early age. That interest in forestry science and its effect on his country led him to the University of Maine in 2007 to pursue graduate research in the School of Forest Resources.
Three years later on a trip back to Turkey, Kiziltas met a carpet manufacturer with a growing concern over nonbiodegradable waste. Kiziltas wanted to find a solution not only for the businessman, but for the country, environment and future generations.
“My biggest concern is to find uses for recycled materials to keep the environment beautiful for younger generations,” says Kiziltas.
Kiziltas’ award-winning research in UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center in collaboration with Professor Douglas Gardner has focused on the use of natural fillers such as microcrystalline cellulose, wood flour, hemp, flax and kenaf fibers as opposed to conventional reinforcing fillers such as glass fiber, carbon fiber, nanoclay and silica. He is exploring new heat-resistant automotive plastics from these natural materials, which he has determined can stand the stress of high temperatures and are low-cost, low-density, strong, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
Kiziltas will continue his research at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich., when he starts a six-month internship in August.
Last year, Kiziltas received an Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) Graduate Scholarship Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers for his research proposal focused on cellulose-filled recycled carpet for under-the-hood applications for the automobile industry.
Other recognition he has received for his preliminary research results include the Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award at UMaine’s 2013 Graduate Academic Exposition and first place for his oral presentation and third place in the commercialization competition at the 2012 GradExpo. He also won first place in the poster competition in the 2012–2013 SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) for his project having the greatest potential effect on ground transportation.
Most recently, Kiziltas was named the 2013 outstanding Ph.D. student in UMaine’s College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture.
In 2010, Kiziltas submitted the “Under the Foot to Under the Hood” proposal to the Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. Out of more than 700, it was chosen to receive $60,000 in funding if he returns to Turkey and opens his own company. The competition is open to students from Turkey until five years after earning an undergraduate, master’s or Ph.D. degree.
Kiziltas earned an undergraduate degree in forest products engineering from Karadeniz Technical University in Trabzon, Turkey, and in 2006 was awarded one of two full scholarships from the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of National Education to pursue graduate studies in wood sciences and technology in the United States.
In August 2009, Kiziltas earned a master’s degree from UMaine’s School of Forest Resources and became the first UMaine student to earn a graduate certificate in innovation engineering. This August, he will start his internship with Ford, and will receive his Ph.D. from UMaine in May 2014.
Kiziltas hopes to convert the nylon used in carpets to a form that could be used by automobile manufacturers by mixing the recycled nylon with the natural fillers.
Many scientists think natural materials can only be used in thermoplastics with a low melting point, Kiziltas says. However, he thinks UMaine is the only research institute that can heat cellulose at such high temperatures, opening the door for more uses of the materials.
Kiziltas says according to carpet industry estimates, about 4–6 million tons of carpet are disposed every year worldwide, with less than 5 percent of the disposed materials being recycled and less than 1 percent being reused. Nearly 95 percent of nonbiodegradable carpet waste ends up in landfills, taking up space that could be used for other materials.
Carpet is generally made up of a face fiber and backing. About 65 percent of carpets sold in the U.S. are made of nylon, making it the most popular face fiber because of its versatility, moldability and resistance to high temperatures and harsh chemicals. Even though nylon performs the best among synthetic fibers, it is also the most expensive.
Demand for nylon in the automotive industry is expected to increase because of government regulations requiring fuel economy upgrades. Lightweight nylon can help make cars lighter, more efficient and environmentally friendly, according to Kiziltas.
Kiziltas believes nylon from carpet waste can fill the demand in the automotive industry once properties from the materials are converted to meet required standards.
After speaking with automotive manufacturers, Kiziltas learned the market requires a high specific strength and modulus, low density and inexpensive reinforcements for nylon. From his master’s thesis research, he knew cellulose fiber reinforcement could be a suitable candidate to mix with the recycled nylon and found natural fibers-filled nylon composites could be produced for under-the-hood applications where conditions are too severe for other plastics.
The reused nylon could be used in simpler automobile applications, such as dashboards, engine covers and side panels, that require less modification, Kiziltas says, but adds that he and his team “like a challenge.”
Kiziltas, who lives in Orono with his wife — who is also a UMaine graduate student — and their two young children, says he would like to return to Turkey to continue his research with the scholarship he was awarded, but he may wait a few years to do so.
“I would like to work in a research institute to mentor young scientists while using my background to make new materials,” Kiziltas says.
He has already mentored and supervised more than six students in the field of natural fillers-filled thermoplastic composites for automobile applications. One of his mentees, third year civil engineering student Alex Nash, won the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) 2013–2014 Extrusion Division/Lew Erwin Memorial Scholarship.
Kiziltas says he used to want to be a professor, but after taking the innovation engineering courses at UMaine, his image of his future began to shift as he discovered his passion for creating new materials with moneymaking potential.
In the long term, Kiziltas would like to return to Turkey to help his native country become more developed and scientifically advanced. He also hopes to help build a relationship between Ford Motor company and UMaine while doing his internship at Ford’s research facilities this summer.
“I don’t want to see my degrees on a shelf. I want to see them put to use in the industry,” Kiziltas says.
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747
The Portland Press Herald article “Maine, others may soon get to tax Web sales” cited a 2012 study by University of Maine economist Todd Gabe. Gabe’s study found Maine would receive between $18 million and $28 million if Congress authorized tax collections from online and catalog purchases.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published the Chicago Tribune article “Students hazy on the dangers of hazing.” Mary Madden, a University of Maine education professor, and her 2008 study on hazing were cited in the article. Her study found nearly half of high school students have been hazed.