Carbon Rivers Awarded $1M: Wind Blade Recycling

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Carbon Rivers Awarded $1M to Advance Wind Blade Recycling Technology

Carbon Rivers, a small business based in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been granted $1 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) to advance wind blade recycling and promote sustainable wind energy. This funding comes under Phase III of DOE’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program, which focuses on moving technology towards commercial application.

Carbon Rivers has successfully achieved 99.9% purity of recycled glass fiber from various end-of-life waste streams, such as wind turbine blades. This high purity enables recycled glass fiber to replace virgin fiberglass in different composite applications, creating a circular economy by remelting it to incorporate it into virgin fiberglass. Carbon Rivers’ technology can convert glass fiber recovered from retired wind turbine blades into material that can be used in future composite manufacturing, reducing landfill waste and promoting sustainability.

In Phase I of SBIR, Carbon Rivers converted retired wind turbine blade material into useful recovered glass fiber. In Phase II, they designed and implemented a 1 ton/day pilot scale production line. With an additional $1.1 million BIL-funded SBIR Phase III award, Carbon Rivers plans to improve their wind turbine blade recycling technology to convert the current recycled glass fiber recovered from end-to-life blades into nonwoven fabrics. This material can be used in new turbine blade construction as well as other industries, such as marine, construction, and aerospace. This funding will support Carbon Rivers’ plans to establish a facility that can recycle up to 5,000 blades annually.

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