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March 5, 2021

GO Lab seeks $85M in municipal waste bonds to fund Madison mill manufacturing

A multibuilding mill with a big smokestack on a river bank Photo / Maureen Milliken GO Lab is seeking up to $85 million in bonds to help fund its wood insulation manafucturing plant at the former Madison Paper mill.

GO Lab, which plans to start manufacturing wood fiber insulation products in the former Madison paper mill beginning next year, is seeking $85 million in solid waste bonds through the Finance Authority of Maine.

FAME held a public hearing on the request Wednesday for the certificate of approval for GO Lab Inc. and GL Real Estate Holdings LLC. The approval sought is for revenue obligation securities that would finance some of the acquiring, rehabilitating, renovating and equipping the production plant.

GO Lab will recycle wood fiber biomass residuals, including thinnings (which are round logs too small to be used in lumber mills) and lumber manufacturing and timber management waste byproducts as its principal raw materials. The material will be used to make wood fiber-based building insulation products that are more climate-friendly than traditional insulation products made from fossil fuels, Matt O'Malia, GO Lab cofounder, told Mainebiz last year.

While there are 15 production plants making the insulation products in Europe, GO Lab will be the first in America to produce  the wood fiber loose fill, batt and board insulation.  

One major piece of equipment for the factory arrived late last month — the production line that will be used to manufacture the insulation boards arrived in Searsport from Germany on the Dutch container ship Alamosborg.

“The arrival of this equipment in Maine is a major step forward for GO Lab and our commitment to manufacturing high-performance, affordable, vapor-open, sustainable wood fiber insulation in America," Josh Henry, GO Lab president said in a news release. "We’re eager to join Maine’s forest products industry and help offer a new destination for softwood chips once destined for paper mills,” 

The equipment came from Homanit Building Materials GmbH & Co. in Germany, described by GO Lab officials as "an enthusiastic early supporter of the project."

The company offered the equipment, which would have been $25 million new, to GO Lab at a discount to help expedite North American production of wood fiber insulation. GO Lab bought the mill for $2.4 million in 2019, with financing from a consortium of state and local entities. Once production is in full swing, slated for 2022, the mill will run three shifts and employ about 130.

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