MSU Could Recycle Wind Turbines into Delicious Gummy Bears
How could wind turbines become edible treats? Science, that's how. No seriously, how?
As the United States works to catch up with other countries around the world to create an efficient system of cleaner energy use, a recent suggestion from scientists at Michigan State University throws an idea out there that is both intriguing and confusing. Wind, sun, and hydropower are three sources of energy that are both renewable and leaves a small carbon footprint. The manufacture and installation of hydropower by far have the smallest carbon footprint according to Science Focus.
Wind turbines can be the source of far more energy in the mitten state. So, what do we do with all of the wind turbine parts when they need to be replaced? That can be a lot of waste. Michigan had an estimated 1,658 working wind turbines at the end of 2021 according to thumbwind.com. That's a number that is dramatically increasing every year. MSU has come up with a clever way to make wind turbine blades out of a material that can be recycled over and over forever. CNet explains the MSU development,
They developed a new form of wind turbine material that combines glass fibers with both plant-derived and synthetic polymers, which refer to long chains of molecules. The mixture is called a composite resin, and its hype lies in the fact that it can be recycled a lot more easily than pure fiberglass can.
In layman's terms, the resin can be dissolved using an alkaline solution to create anything from car tail lights and laptop covers to gummy bears and Gatorade. A Chemical engineer from MSU, John Dorgan explained to CNet why it's ok to eat material that can also be used in a wind turbine blade,
A carbon atom derived from a plant, like corn or grass, is no different from a carbon atom that came from a fossil fuel, it's all part of the global carbon cycle, and we've shown that we can go from biomass in the field to durable plastic materials and back to foodstuffs.
There's no info at this time on when the production of wind turbine blades made from this recyclable material will begin.