Science Round-Up: New technology means reusable wind turbine blades

It is a watershed moment for the wind industry. Thanks to the work of researchers from Aarhus University, the Danish manufacturer Vestas will be able to build new wind turbine blades with epoxy. The company has developed a chemical process that makes it possible to break it down and recycle it.

“We are super happy to develop possible green solutions for recycling some of the otherwise difficult to recycle types of plastic,” chemistry professor responsible for the project Troels Skrydstrup explains.

No need to change production methods
Because the new technology can be adapted to the old generation, all the wind turbine blades will be fully recycled.

Since the production of epoxy-based wind turbine blades has been standard practice in the wind industry for a few decades, WindEurope expects that around 25,000 tonnes of blades will reach the end of their life annually from 2025. This is the first test of the new process to prove its effectiveness .

An alarm system to protect the arctic regions
With global warming resulting in melting permafrost, Siberia and all the arctic regions are threatened by some dangerous viruses. In 2016, the anthrax bacterium caused the death of 2,300 reindeer and a 12-year-old boy in Siberia. With the help of Canadian colleagues, researchers from SDU is developing an early warning system to detect when an event like this may recur as permafrost continues to retreat in the Arctic regions.

Coffee with milk is good for health
According to some studies done by University of Copenhagen, drinking coffee with milk can have a beneficial effect on the immune system. A coffee bean is full of polyphenols – a group of antioxidants known to help reduce ‘oxidative stress’ in the body which often causes inflammation, while milk is rich in protein. Combining them can even double the immune cells’ anti-inflammatory properties.

Rare Chinese plant can limit rat reproduction
Researchers from University of Copenhagen have found an interesting way to limit the fertility of rats. A substance called Triptolide, which is found in a very rare Chinese plant, has an effect similar to the effect of birth control pills on the rodent. Today, rat control is carried out with extremely toxic poisons. Who knows if this new discovery might change that.

New virus discovered to kill resistant bacteria
Thanks to a study conducted by SDU, five new virus species have been discovered and registered in the microbiological inventory. One of them, called Fyn8, has already been fully sequenced and is known to attack and kill the bacterium Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, which has developed resistance to antibiotics and can be found in hospitals. The virus would be extremely useful for e.g. sterilization of wounds. When the world may face a crisis where more people die from infections with resistant bacteria than from cancer, according to SDU, the discovery may prove to be invaluable for researchers in the future.

Correlation between traffic noise and tinnitus demonstrated
Anyone who lives next to a busy road has potentially had tinnitus at some point. According to SDU researchers, the phenomenon is due to the noise level, which can affect stress levels and thus people’s sleep. The risk of developing tinnitus increases with the level of stress and affects a large number of Danes.

A treatment that helps newborns with muscle wasting recover completely
Newborns with disabling muscular dystrophy can make a full recovery if they receive early treatment. The disease, known as SMA, is not common: only 7 to 8 Danes suffer from it each year. Already available since 2017, the treatment has now proven its benefits Rigshospitalet with Rasmus, who is now thriving according to his mother. The Danish hospital works in collaboration with Aarhus and Odense University Hospital to help the treatment develop around the country.

Cigarette butts are the most common plastic pollution in Denmark
For those who smoke: throw your cigarette butts in the bin! In a new study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, cigarette butts discarded in natural areas can have a major impact on the ecosystem. Scientists proved in an experiment that biodiversity was seriously affected when worms were shown to be negatively affected by cigarette butts.

16-year-old hedgehog found in Denmark
Thorvald, a hedgehog living in Denmark, has been crowned the oldest of his kind in the world, at the age of 16. According to The Guardian, the previous record was held by an Irish woman in 2014, who was seven years younger than the Dane. The male lived at Silkeborg in Central Jutland and died at Dyrenes Beskyttelse Denmark’s wildlife rehabilitation center.

A Vestas mill destroyed by fire
A 3MW machine from Vestas was destroyed on Tuesday at the Lem Kær wind farm in West Jutland. The mill caught fire and is now out of operation. The site has been secured and no one was injured according to the manufacturer. The company stated that they intended to investigate the matter.

Source: The Nordic Page

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