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Rural Development group celebrates COA entrepreneurs
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Read some of the press coverage of this event:
Bar Harbor Times
College of the Atlantic's Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, funded in part by a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant of $73,501, is hatching more than just ingenuity. One student venture, Gourmet Butanol, will help College of the Atlantic run more of its operations on clean and sustainable fuel sources.
At a press conference held at the college today, student Nick Harris, creator of Gourmet Butanol, provided a demonstration of the science behind his project, which he says will "turn yesterday's eggplant parmesan into tomorrow's fuel." Nick plans to collect food waste from the college, as well as local restaurants and hotels to transform into butanol. He is currently working on a prototype of the process, but eventually expects this clean fuel to power COA's vehicles and ultimately heat most buildings in the college that are not heated by wood pellets. After this Nick plans to market the service to area businesses. The process lowers costs, reduces fossil fuel dependence, and turns waste from landfill bulk into a valuable resource.
This is the second year for the Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, which has produced a variety of innovative projects ranging from Faolan Photography, a photography studio featuring underwater images, to Bike Revolution, a cycle taxi service for Bar Harbor.
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, "The demonstration we saw here today at College of the Atlantic is really symbolic of the original thinking and inventive ideas of our next generation of Maine business leaders. I am pleased USDA Rural Development could invest in the Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, which will continue to help students develop sustainable ventures for many years to come."
Jay Friedlander, the Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business added, "Gourmet Butanol demonstrates how sustainability is synonymous with innovation. The company has the potential to provide a substitute for fossil fuels that strengthens the local economy, restores nutrients to the soil and reduces production costs versus the competition. This is the type of innovation that we need in Maine and throughout the world. It is a win for the company, community and the environment. None of this would have been possible without the generous support from the USDA."
In Maine, USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 83 employees working to deliver the agency's Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. In Fiscal Year 2010, USDA Rural Development invested over $450 million, including leveraged funds, in the state of Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/me.
College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in environmental stewardship and experiential education, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning - human ecology - that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers who can lead all sectors of society to promote sustainable ecosystems while meeting compelling and growing human needs. COA's Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery provides a platform for students to unleash the power of sustainable business to bolster communities, restore the environment and build stronger enterprises. www.coa.edu/sustainable-business.htm
CAPTIONS: Nick Harris speaks to representatives from Maine's congressional delegation
Faolan Photography, underwater mast.
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