A proposal for turning wind turbine blades into feedstocks for 3D printing has earned a team of University of Maine researchers a $75,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office’s Wind Turbine Materials Recycling Prize.

The project, dubbed “Blades for Large-Format Additive Manufacturing,” proposes taking wind turbine blades destined for the landfill and repurposing them as feedstock materials for 3D printing.

Source: University of MaineSource: University of Maine

To accomplish this, the researchers will shred wind turbine blades and use the material as reinforcement and filler for large-scale 3D printing. The team suggests that this proposal, wherein shredded and milled wind turbine blades are substituted for commonly used short carbon fibers, is expected to achieve 100% mechanical recycling of the composite blade material.

Going forward, the researchers will focus on creating new compounding methods to achieve the appropriate adhesive bond strength of the composite material.

Further, the team is expected to investigate the potential for incorporating shredded wind turbine blade material into 3D printed precast concrete.

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