Making Gummy Bears from Wind Turbine Blades: Part Two

  • Crazy all the things you can recycle and truly make into entirely new things.

For Making Gummy Bears from Wind Turbine Blades: Part One, click the title. This is part two.

By separating the novel resin, constituent parts can be removed once the use as a wind turbine is up. The biggest part of the process is that the glass fiber bits are extracted out, and you can use the resulting “goop” in a wide variety of different materials. Like so many different things.

It just depends on which of the mixtures constituents you decide to pull out and manipulate. If the resin was digested in an alkaline solution, they got an  acrylic substance, used to make windows and car tail lights.

If the temperature is hot enough, a super-absorbent polymer remains, often called on in making diapers. It can also save countertops.  “We’ve recently made a bathroom sink with the cultured stone, so we know it works,” Dorgan said.

“We recovered food-grade potassium lactate and used it to make gummy bear candies, which I ate,” Dorgan said. If gummy bears aren’t your thing, the chemical can also be made into sports drinks like Gatorade.

It’s all sounding a little, err, gross. Isn’t it?

Dorgan emphasizes 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 … 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.”

To be clear, the team has only manufactured a prototype to final product. There is a bit of a limitation, too.

Dorgan explained: “There’s not enough of the bioplastic that we’re using to satisfy this market, so there needs to be considerable production volume brought online if we’re going to actually start making wind turbines out of these materials.”

With that path cleared, would could see things like, charging cables, computer cases, hefty kitchenware or even gelatinous snacks laced with remnants of a blade that once flew along in the breeze. Crazy cool, but a little gross, odd news.

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