Do you eat a grinder? These scholars hope so.

Pictures of rusty wind turbines and gummy bears

Despite being an excellent source of renewable energy, wind turbines, like most manufactured products, eventually need to be discarded for one reason or another. This is clearly a big problem given its size, but researchers at Michigan State University are working on a new solution: a newly developed material to make turbines that could be Later recycled In everything from auto parts For gum bears.

The same arguments for upgrading your smartphone every year, such as improving its performance Or replace the device with a lot of wear and tear, also apply to wind turbines. Switching with larger, lighter blades can improve the efficiency and power output of a wind turbine, but it’s much easier to scrape a portable device that slips into your pocket than a 250-foot-long fiberglass blade—or three of them, to be more precise. Current wind turbine blades It can be recycled into other products, such as building materials, but the practice is not yet widespread and these giant components often end up in landfills.

A team of researchers from Michigan State University, led by John Dorgan, Ph.D., is trying to change that, and Recently introduced a new solution to find New life for wind turbine blades. DrDuring the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the group detailed how to do it had a Developed a new thermoplastic resin made of glass fibers fused with synthetic and plant-derived polymers. Istrong enough to be used in industry Wind turbine blades, when no longer needed, It can be sliced ​​and dissolved to be reformulated into other products. These products include Auto parts, but can be much more unexpected.

When mixed with minerals Melted turbine blades could They can be used to produce cultured stone products such as artificial granite countertops, or recovered materials can be used It is crushed and mixed with other resins and used in injection molding machines to make toys or other plastic goods without a decrease in product quality.

Processing recovered materials in other ways produces more interesting recycling possibilities. Alkaline solution can be used for Digestion of poly(methyl methacrylate) release thermoplastic resins: A clear plastic material often used as a permanent alternative to glass. WAs temperatures rise, we can Go so far as to convert poly(methyl methacrylate) into poly(methacrylic acid): a super absorbent material used in diapers. A byproduct of these recycling processes is potassium lactate, which after being It is so purified that it is food grade, It was used by the team to make the gummy bear they ate.

The next step is to use new thermoplastic resin to make wind turbine blades to test How do they survive in real world conditions like rain, snow, and whatever else Mother Nature can throw at them. Successful testing may increase demand for new bioplastics, Who hopes the team Leads to interested companies manufacturing collectively A practical and affordable alternative to traditional fiberglass materials. If it is impossible to source, and it is very expensive, it does not matter how easy it is to recycle: No one will want to use it.

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