A biorefinery at the University of Maine Forest Bioproducts Research Institute’s (FBRI) Technology Research Center (TRC) ended up evacuated Monday after a gas leak, said officials at the Old Town Fire Department.
No one suffered an injury when a leak occurred in a pressurized pipe on a piece of equipment at about 5 p.m. at the Old Town, ME, facility that released dilute sulfuric acid vapors into the air inside UMaine FBRI’s TRC, a UMaine spokesperson said.
TRC equipment shut down and the building evacuated as soon as the leak was detected, the spokesperson said.
The TRC is near the site of the former Old Town paper mill on Main Street in Old Town and hosts a biorefinery pilot project working to turn wood fibers into biofuels.
The facility uses chemicals including acids to break wood fibers down into biofuels.
Officials will now evaluate necessary repairs they will need to make.