Researchers are developing a study on how to recycle wind turbines in North Dakota
Nearly 1,000 blades are expected to be buried in the Casper Regional Landfill in Wyoming this year.
The turbines are built of mostly recyclable products, however the blades are made of fiberglass materials, making it hard to find a new purpose.
Allete Clean Energy is partnering with institutes in Minnesota and North Dakota to explore options that will keep blades out of a landfill.
The blades in the sky, won’t be able to spin in the sky forever.
"It’s a tricky problem because the blades have minerals and materials in them, like epoxy, and fiberglass, and balsawood and paint," said Al Rudeck, president of Allete Clean Energy.
The turbines themselves have a 40-year life, but the blades require replacement every 15 to 20 years.
"We want to find a solution for that, that doesn't just landfill the blades," said Rudeck.
A study, that is still in premature stages, is looking for alternative options to recycle the blades.
"Grinding them up and using them for road bed material, we've talked about running them through a chemical reaction called paralysis, where you can extract the fibers from the fiberglass to be re-used," said Rudeck.
Other options include salvaging the blades for re-use.
"We've talked about putting them into building materials, cut them up and put them into things like wall boards or RV panels for building RVs and things like that," said Rudeck.
For now, Allete Clean Energy is compiling their decommissioned blades to donate them to the research institute for future testing.