Could science make wind farms hotspots for gummy bears?
US boffins have found a way to take composite materials used in the manufacture of wind turbine blades to make these popular fruit gum candies.
Findings of a new study by the Michigan State University suggest that a specific turbine material can be revived or recycled into new turbine blades or a range of other products, including car taillights, diapers, sinks and even gummy bears.
The new turbine material was made by combining glass fibres, a material used for wind turbine blades with a plant-derived polymer and a synthetic one.
Using an alkaline solution, the new composite could be transformed into gummy bears, the scientific team has said.
Dr John Dorgan, who led the study, explains that a carbon atom derived from a plant like corn or grass, is no different from a carbon atom that came from a fossil fuel.
He added: “It’s all part of the global carbon cycle and we have shown that we can go from biomass in the field to durable plastic materials and back to foodstuffs.”
According to a University of Cambridge study, turbine blades are forecast to account for nearly 43 million tonnes of waste in 2050.
Last year, the government awarded £1.3 million to a project that was claimed to become the first in the UK to be built to recycle wind turbine blades.
Commenting on the findings of his research, Dr John Dorgan said: “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.”