New composite products manufactured from decommissioned wind blades

Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc. and Washington State University collaborated on this project.

Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc. (GFSI, Bothell, WA) and Washington State University (WSU) have successfully manufactured a variety of composite products with fiberglass material taken from decommissioned wind blades.

Prior to installation, the 173-foot long wind turbine blades were damaged in a storm and harvested by GFSI from Portland General Electric's Tucannon River Wind Farm in Eastern Washington. The WSU Composite Materials and Engineering Center processed small sections of the wind blade and blended the fibers with a new composition of resins and other materials developed by GFSI.

Testing conducted for the manufactured products showed overall superior mechanical and physical properties compared to many current wood composites, according to a news release. WSU Associate Professor Karl Englund said that the resulting base composite material, Ecopolycrete, is suitable for a whole range of green manufacturing applications. The products are expected to have a significant impact on reducing the practice of landfilling fiberglass scrap from wind turbine blades and other sources.

GFSI CEO Don Lilly says that the company now has a patented process in place that in, combination with "innovative" machinery, can take fiberglass and carbon fiber from efficient shredding and grinding to manufacturing commercially ready high-grade products.

Both GFSI and WSU plan to continue their collaborative work to develop new applications for recycled FRP and CFRP.