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How can stand-up paddleboards be made more eco-friendly?

Answer: With old wind turbine blades.

While stand-up paddleboards (SUP) may be a far more eco-friendly way to get around than gas-powered boats, the materials used to create them don’t quite fit that bill. Most of them are difficult to separate from each other and recycle whenever the board eventually wears down or breaks.

A group of scientists is looking to an interesting source for a solution: old blades from wind turbines. A group from the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research and the Technische Universität Braunschweig has teamed up to build a new board filled with a lightweight foam made from the materials harvested from these old blades.

The blades contain balsa wood, which the team finely ground and mixed with water. They then processed this mixture into a foam that works just as well as the traditional petroleum-based polystyrene stuff typically used in SUP boards. A watertight shell of woven flax fibers combined with a bio-based polymer completes the board. The team expects to have the first one ready for demonstration by the end of 2022.
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