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Company Devises Ingenious Method of Repurposing Old Wind Turbines: ‘The perfect time’

in Enviroment 253 views

With the first generation of wind turbines well into a period of decommissioning, questions about what to do with the massive fiberglass blades is a pressing one for an industry that markets itself as green and sustainable.

While indeed no fossil fuels need be burned to generate electricity with wind turbines, the mounting landfill burden of the blades which are not recyclable is projected to climb to over 40 million tons of fiberglass over the next 20 years.

Some companies though are changing the angle of approach of the problem from how to recycle the blades into raw materials to simply moving them onto other uses—and the company REGEN Fiber, owned by the trucking company Tavero, sees their future as additives in concrete and asphalt.

The primary end-product is a top-performing reinforcement fiber that increases the strength and overall durability of concrete and mortar applications such as pavement, slabs-on-grade, and precast products. The company also produces microfibers and additives from components of the wind blade for use in a range of composite, concrete, and soil stabilization applications.

By preventing decommissioned wind turbine blades from ending up in landfills or releasing combustion byproducts, such as carbon, to the atmosphere if burned, REGEN Fiber’s new and sustainable solution is helping to solve the wind industry’s growing challenge of finding environmentally friendly ways for disposing of wind turbine components.

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US Startup Makes Building Materials Out of Fast-Growing Grasses to Capture More Carbon Than Trees

in Enviroment 210 views

A startup looking to find better ways to mass-produce lumber for construction has swapped trees for grass.

It turns out that with sophisticated laminating and molding machines, the fibers of certain grass species can be just as strong as wood, but lighter, and orders of magnitude faster to produce.

Entrepreneur Josh Dorfman founded Plantd with two former SpaceX engineers. Their flagship product is a seemingly-regular pressed wood panel for homebuilding, but one that’s made from a fast-growing species of grass which nevertheless can absorb 30 tons of carbon dioxide via photosynthesis throughout its lifetime.

Capable of being harvested three times in a season, rather than once in 20 years as in the case with pine wood, the potential is there to drastically lower the cost of lumber for homebuilding, and increase the carbon-capture potential of the timber industry.

“We see the greatest opportunity to lock away the most carbon when we make a superior product than what exists today,” Dorfman told Fast Company. “And do it in a way where that end customer can still build exactly the same way… they don’t have to change in any respect.”

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