Some day we’ll be recycling wind turbine blades into yummy gummy bears

Old wind turbine blades are usually sent to landfills, which rather undercuts the concept of sustainable energy production.

Enlarge / Previous wind turbine blades are normally despatched to landfills, which somewhat undercuts the idea of sustainable power manufacturing. (credit score: Imagevixen/Getty Photographs)

Wind energy is a quickly rising trade, with a 53 p.c enhance in new installations in 2020 alone, based on the World Wind Vitality Council. The large fiberglass blades could be so long as half of a soccer discipline and preserve getting bigger— the larger the blade, the extra electrical energy is produced. That poses an issue when the blades outlive the mechanical components of the generators. They’re normally despatched to landfills, which undercuts the entire idea of sustainable power manufacturing.

Fortuitously, John Dorgan, a chemical engineer at Michigan State College, has provide you with a brand new polymer resin that may not solely be recycled into a brand new era of turbine blades but in addition supplies for a variety of business purposes. These embody the manufacture of automotive taillights, diapers, kitchen sinks—even edible gummy bears. He described his analysis at a gathering of the American Chemical Society in Chicago this week.

Dorgan phrases his strategy “molecular flexibility,” impressed partially by an article he as soon as learn by Isaac Asimov, describing a future the place folks would have the ability to resynthesize uncooked protons, neutrons, and electrons into something they wished. “It is nearly just like the replicator from Star Trek, the place they’ll simply kind of make atoms into something that they need—ice cream floats, or new clothes, or what have you ever,” mentioned Dorgan throughout a press convention on the ACS assembly. “After all, we’re a good distance from the replicator concept, however we did draw some inspiration from these types of issues.”

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