Wind Turbine Blades to be Recycled Into Gummy Bears – Yes, That’s True!
Who's up for some gelatinous fun?
Wind energy is playing a vital role in helping the world generate more and more renewable energy, but what happens with wind turbine blades at the end of their life? Do they end up in landfills? Are they recycled? As it is incredibly difficult and expensive to recycle wind turbine blades that are made from fiberglass, consequently they reach the landfill. Fortunately, scientists have proposed making wind turbine blades out of bioplastic that can someday be recycled into gummy bears and other sweet treats.
A team from Michigan State University (MSU) has come up with this wide-ranging and potent idea. The team offered its blueprints of the innovative way that has a new wind turbine material, a blend of glass fibers with both plant-derived and synthetic polymers.
The new material is called composite resin and it can be recycled easily and turned into delicious treats. At the end of the life of a wind turbine blade, the new resin material can be separated into basic parts. The resulting goop can be pulled out or manipulated into a wide variety of materials.
John Dorgan, a chemical engineer from MSU, who will be presenting the team’s work at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society, said during a press release;
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… We recovered food-grade potassium lactate and used it to make gummy bear candies, which I ate.
When the resin was dipped in an alkaline solution, it formed an acrylic substance that can be utilized in making windows and car taillights. Moreover, if the temperature is increased during the process, the result will be a super-absorbent polymer.
Additionally, the resin can also be used to create household countertops when combined with various minerals. It can also be mixed with plastics to make laptop covers and power tools.Dorgan further added;
There’s not enough of the bioplastic that we’re using to satisfy this market, so there needs to be considerable production volume brought online if we’re going to actually start making wind turbines out of these materials.
However, if successful on a commercial scale, the remnants of a veteran wind turbine blade might one day be present in our household items and gelatinous snacks such as gummy bears.