Unlike some fuel sources we could name, wind power doesn’t dump tons of carbon into the atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean turbines don’t come with their own environmental issues. Those majestic, gigantic turbine blades — which start at 37 yards long and can weigh more than 15 tons — eventually wear out and have to be thrown away. But science may be able to provide a solution: biodegradable blades made out of plant fiber.
Right now, blades are generally made from fiberglass and carbon-composite, and when they die, they get ground up or cut into tiny pieces and go to landfills or into roads. But biodegradable turbine blades would have much less of an impact on the environment.
These would be made from “natural cellulose fibers and bio-based plastics,” according to FastCoExist. Like all this sort of bio-plastic, the blades would come from plant-based oils, and, in theory, after they were done doing their part to keep the world from melting, they’d break back down into harmless plant matter.
Turbine Blades Made Out Of Vegetables To Solve Wind’s Hidden Pollution Problem, FastCoExist.
Get Grist in your inbox