Maine plans massive greenhouse, algae biofuel facility
A project proposed in Maine would pair hydroponic greenhouses with a fish farm and algae-based biofuels research.
In an area of Maine generally known for its strip malls and big box stores, newcomer Sebago Farms plans to build a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use facility that will house hydroponic greenhouses, a fish farm, and an algae-based biofuels research area and employ up to 170 people.
The ambitious project — the size of about seven Walmart superstores — is the first venture of WNWN LLC (which stands for Win Win or Waste Not Want Not), owned by Arundel, Maine, businessman and retired school teacher John der Kinderen. Der Kinderen also is a principal in project planning and management at BioSynEnergy LLC, a Doylestown, Penn.-based company that describes itself as a team of worldwide, multi-disciplinary experts focused on refining waste streams into green revenue and jobs.
“This will have wide-ranging positive impacts on the town,” said Tom Bartell, director of economic development in Windham, Maine, the proposed project site. “But it will have a low impact on the environment and the aquifer because the nature of the project is self-contained and it recycles.” He added that the project is a shot in the arm for the business park where it is to be located, and it could bring in other businesses, as well as open up 170 new jobs ranging from unskilled to semi-skilled to highly technical.
News of the project, which was presented at a town planning board meeting on Monday, has created excitement among Bartell and others, but der Kinderen cautions that the project is still in initial stages and must first get state and local approvals. “We are committed to doing a project in Windham, but we don’t yet know the size and scope of the final build out,” he told Mass High Tech. “Many things can happen between now and construction.” If all proceeds as planned, building could start as early as this spring and produce could be available toward the end of the year.
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