It’s important to both the power and the composite industries to find a solution to the problem of these wind blades. “The wind industry was kind of a glamour industry on the renewable side of energy. Now it is showing a very ugly part [with the end-of-life wind blades],” Ludwig says. With technologies like the Thermolyzer, these industries could erase that negative image and replace it with a positive one as creators of non-polluting energy and reclaimers of valuable materials.
Work on these and other recycling/reuse technologies will continue to grow because the composites industry understands that it’s the right thing to do, Maxey says. “We are still a fairly small industry, but we recognize the need and the opportunity for collaboration,” he says. “Folks really want to solve these problems, and they’re willing to do it together. To me, that makes all the difference because we’re going to get there that much faster.”