Recycling Wind Turbine Blades Into Gummy Bears
Michigan State professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science has found new processes and materials to create the next generation of wind turbines, that can then be recycled more easily.
“What Do Kitchen Sinks, Taillights, And Gummy Bears All Have In Common?”
This is how the American Chemical Society’s Media Relations Manager began a conference this week. Apparently, these are all products that can be created from recycling wind turbines! Researchers at Michigan State University have made a composite resin for the blades by combining glass fibres with a plant-derived polymer and a synthetic one. When their lifespan is finished, the materials can be broken down and recycled to make products such as kitchen tops, taillights and even gummy bears.
“We recovered food-grade potassium lactate and used it to make gummy bear candies, which I ate. The beauty of our resin system is that at the end of its use cycle, we can dissolve it, and that releases it from whatever matrix it’s in so that it can be used over and over again in an infinite loop. That’s the goal of the circular economy.”
Current Recycling Of Wind Turbine Products
There is no denying the incredible benefits that wind turbines bring the world; a clean, sustainable fuel source! However, when it comes to disposing of these ginormous machines, it can prove quite difficult. Many blades often end up in landfills once their lifespan is over, taking up vast amounts of space. This has increased the push for finding new recyclable products we can repurpose these materials into.