Deadline: 2020-04-07 Award: $10,000 Open to: Everyone*
The average useful life of wind turbines is about 20 years. After this period, the mechanical and structural properties of the turbines decay and refurbishments in some cases might be necessary to extend their lifetime for a few more years, while in other cases, the wind turbines are dismantled. Whereas the biggest portion of wind turbine components are quite easy to recycle (i.e. metal parts), there is a small non-metallic portion of components that is less easy to recycle, namely the blades of the wind turbines. These are mostly made of composite materials (typically glass/carbon fibers + epoxy matrix), plus some other minor components/materials (e.g. glue and gelcoat), making this task particularly challenging.