- Published: 08 September 2020 08 September 2020
Thanks to $1.1 million in funding from the Department of Energy’s Small Business Technology Transfer program and Wind Energy Technologies Office, the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville, is developing a new technology for the large-scale recycling of wind turbine blades into new recycled composites.
This technology recovers the glass fiber from reinforced polymer composites while limiting mechanical degradation of the fiber during the reclamation process. In turn, this allows the recycled fiber to be reused in new composite applications such as vehicle lightweighting, other renewable energy systems components, and performance sports equipment.
UT has partnered with Carbon Rivers, a start-up company located in Knoxville and owned by alumnus Bowie Benson (2017), to further develop and commercialize the glass fiber recovery technology for the purpose of handling retired wind turbine blades.
Over the next two years, the UT-Carbon Rivers team will collaborate with GE Renewable Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s MidAmerican Energy Company, and PacifiCorp utilities to develop a pilot scale glass fiber composite recycling system that will serve as the basis for eventual deployment of a full-scale commercial wind blade waste processing plant.