Green energy in the USA and a way to recycle wind turbine blades

In the Texas region, the cradle of the world’s oil and gas industry, Entergy is building its state-of-the-art power plant. A $1.5 billion project will produce electricity by burning gas and hydrogen. In the latter case, no greenhouse gases are produced due to combustion. Recent US regulations and the stance of the Environmental Protection Agency are so stringent that power plants burning gas and coal will have to use hydrogen as a fuel or have carbon capture technology. Meanwhile, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, 10 of the world’s 13 most significant CO₂ capture projects either capture only half of the assumed carbon dioxide or have already been closed.

Approx. forty-three million tons of used wind turbine rotor blades will be decommissioned by 2050. Is there a chance they will not end up in landfills and pollute the environment? These rotor blades must be durable – they last for decades, spinning up to 30 times a minute – so the materials used in their construction are not recyclable. However, experts from the University of Aarhus developed a method – they dipped fragments of blades in a mixture of solvents and added a catalyst that accelerated the chemical reaction. They then heated everything to 160°C for 16 hours to several days until the target material was wholly decomposed. In this way, it was possible for the first time to break down the reinforced epoxy material and recover the plastic components and the glass fibres inside without damaging either.

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