Entrepreneur to talk forest products

BAR HARBOR — Nadir Yildirim, co-founder and president of Orono-based Revolution Research, will deliver a MDI Science Café talk on innovation in Maine’s forest products industry at the MDI Biological Laboratory’s new Center for Science Entrepreneurship on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m.

Yildirim’s talk, entitled “Nanotechnology and the Futurist Green Material, Nanocellulose,” will be the first MDI Science Café to be held in the new center. The mission of the center is to catalyze Maine’s transition to a modern economy by providing innovation- and entrepreneurship-based training for Maine students.

Revolution Research, a startup research and development company founded in 2014, is an example of the power of innovation to transform an economic sector. The company grew out Maine’s traditional forest products industry but is transforming it by creating 21st-century products in the form of eco-friendly, “green” wood-based ceiling tiles and insulation.

In short, Yildirim is turning wood – or more precisely, microscopic wood fibers, also known as nanocellulose – into what he calls “revolutionary products from the trees,” products that are renewable, recyclable and save on energy costs.

The company’s products could provide a much-needed shot in the arm to Maine’s ailing forest products industry, which has suffered from multiple blows, including overseas competition, the decline in demand for paper due to the digital revolution and the substitution of plastic composites for wood products in the building trades.

Yildirim said his company is addressing one of the world’s central issues, the environmental, economic and political impacts of energy production, by developing building products that are efficient, ecofriendly and renewable.

In his talk, Yildirim also will discuss his odyssey from Turkey, where he grew up, to the Revolution Research office in Orono.

That odyssey began when he was in his mid-twenties. The recipient of a government scholarship that allowed him to pursue a career in science anywhere in the world, he chose the University of Maine, where he earned a doctorate in forest resources. He is also a graduate of the university’s Innovation Engineering Program.

Since Revolution Research was founded, it has received a number of grants to develop green building products from nanocellulose fibers, including grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop green suspended ceiling tiles and from the National Science Foundation to create rigid foam board insulation.

The company’s ultimate goal is to perfect the technologies behind its products and license them for full-scale production, creating new Maine jobs and contributing to the growth of Maine’s innovation economy.

MDI Science Cafés are offered through the MDI Biological Laboratory in fulfillment of its mission to promote scientific literacy and increase public engagement with science. The events offer a chance to hear directly from scientists about the latest research trends. Short presentations delivered in everyday language are followed by lively, informal discussion.

The winter series also includes talks on April 3 and May 1. Refreshments will be served. The cafés are sponsored by Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and Cross Insurance.

The MDI Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution focused on increasing healthy lifespan and increasing our natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease. The institution develops solutions to complex human health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures. Visit mdibl.org.

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