Environmental Technologies is a highly diverse sector from which has emerged a clear set of directions in the fields of environmental services and engineering. Maine has a qualitative advantage in the knowledge and skills in this area, with a diversifying set of activities to meet growing markets. Maine’s own commitment to a high quality environment serves as a spur to innovation in this field, which may permit national and global markets to be served.
The Environmental Technologies “CleanTech” cluster has two definable sub-clusters. One, Alternative Energy and Turbines, intersects with other clusters and the other, Environmental Services, is distinctly different.
Alternative Energy and Turbines
Much like the Composites and Advanced Materials sector; the Environmental Technologies sector features internationally recognized Maine-based corporations. Driving this sector is Maine’s technology proficiency in engines and turbines for wind-power, and in Maine’s technology competency with organic chemistry for biofuels. Cianbro has led several large capital projects including biomass, conventional power generation, and marine vessel conversions. Pika Energy builds revolutionary products to capture and manage clean power. SunEdison’s Bingham Wind Project in Somerset County is expected to be the largest of its kind in the New England area. Ocean Renewable Power Company is developing breakthrough technology and projects that harness the power of the world’s oceans and rivers to generate clean, predictable, and affordable energy.
Maine environmental consulting firms propel this sector. Woodard & Curran is an 800-person, integrated engineering, science, and operations company. Sevee & Maher Engineers provides technical expertise in hydrogeology, civil, environmental, wastewater, geotechnical and chemical engineering, and environmental management. St.Germain Collins offers a full range of environmental management services. Two Maine businesses with technology competencies in fluid handling and environmental control systems are the Baker Company and Fluid Imaging Technologies. The Baker Company has been at the forefront of engineering, testing and production of reliable laboratory contamination control equipment. The FlowCam technology from Fluid Imaging Technologies was the first to combine the benefits of digital imaging, flow cytometry, and microscopy into a single instrument to help researchers quickly and easily measure the size and shape of microscopic particles in a fluid medium.
There is growth potential in both these subsectors. The worldwide demand for certified “green” products is already growing rapidly, as is the role that Maine will play in renewable energy production using technologies such as wind. Renewable energy has had up-and-down cycles in Maine and is very likely poised for a significant up cycle over the next decade.