Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center Overview

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center brings together industrial partners, trade organizations, construction firms, architects, and other stakeholders in the region to revitalize and diversify Maine’s forest-based economy by bringing innovative mass timber manufacturing to the State of Maine. The emergence of this new innovation based industry cluster will result in positive economic impacts to both local and regional economies, particularly in Maine’s rural communities.

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center has four primary objectives:

  1. Formalize and support efforts of the recently formed (2016) Maine Mass Timber Advisory Committee (MMTAC), to-date an informal/ad hoc group of University scientists and economists, CLT producers, sawmills, the Maine Forest Products Council, engineers, architects, general contractors, and others.
    • The MMTAC will be expanded to include code officials and consultants from critical research areas including fire, acoustics and hygrothermal behavior.  Members will organize site visits for potential manufacturers and investors, give seminars, offer testimony, as well as facilitate local “town hall” type meetings to further educate the public on mass timber as well as the group’s efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest products industry.  Membership as of July 2020 is 53.
    • The Commercialization Center and MMTAC will coordinate and sponsor a road mapping conference to better identify research and policy needs affecting mass timber construction in the Northeastern U.S. as well as CLT manufacturing in Maine (occurred in October 2018 with 165 attendees).
    • The MMTAC, will investigate avenues for State of Maine support for a CLT demonstration project for Maine.  A successful CLT demonstration project in Maine may be the single most important driver of this technology locally, and serve as a de-risking tool for investors, designers, and manufacturers considering siting a plant in Maine.
  2. Create an Attraction Package laying out the Business Case for CLT Manufacturing in Mainedownload the full version (26.2 MB), or the abridged version (1.4 MB) – to help attract a mass timber manufacturer to invest and locate in Maine. The Business Attraction Package presents several possible locations for a CLT plant within the state, based on criteria such as: site characteristics, environmental issues, utilities, transportation access, labor profile, business climate, quality of life, public services, and State and Federal incentive and tax exemption/credit programs applicable to CLT manufacturing facilities.
  3. Develop products to make Maine more competitive in the North American mass timber market.  There are 10 species in the SPF-S lumber grouping, seven of which grow in Maine.  As SPF-S is already approved for use in CLT (grade V4), from a mechanical standpoint, all 10 species can be used today for CLT manufacture.  However, what is unknown is the bondline durability of these species when used in a cross oriented layup.  A study at UMaine will conduct durability (shear and delamination) testing on all 10 species per PRG-320.  If there is a problem with any, solutions may be investigated (e.g. higher spread rates, pressures, formulation modifications, etc…).  A separately funded study is qualifying two new grades of CLT using Maine-sawn machine stress rated (MSR) lumber, which will have among the highest CLT values, again making Maine more attractive to CLT producers.
  4. Coordinate execution of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of CLT construction systems, which the wood design community in North America agrees is a need to demonstrate the environmental benefits of using CLT.  An LCA will be conducted on the proposed 65,000 ft2 CLT addition to the UMaine Composites Center.  This LCA will potentially assist in fundraising for the new addition as well as add to the much-needed database of LCAs on CLT construction in North America.

This EDA-funded program will run from Oct 2017 – Oct 2020.

Attraction package:

Case for CLT in Maine Report Cover

For more information:

Brock Commons: An 18 story wood building

ATF Fire Testing of Cross Laminated Timber