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Compostable, ecologically sound wind turbine blades from bamboo and mycelium

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

It may sound like a scene from a climate-fiction movie, but polymer composites expert Valeria La Saponara, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has a vision to develop compostable, ecologically sound wind turbine blades from bamboo and mycelium, the fungal rootlike system that bears mushrooms.

La Saponara envisions a compostable wind turbine blade built with woven bamboo, mycelium and biomass from the agricultural waste from California’s Central Valley in place of fiberglass and balsa wood.

Her team is working on optimizing media for growing and attaching the mycelium layer. Mycelium is an amazing material because it can be grown where it’s going to be used — as long as the conditions are right. The fungal mass can thrive in waste streams from coffee grounds to discarded plastics, with its feedstock influencing its properties. But mycelium doesn’t eat everything, and naturally anti-fungal bamboo is not on the menu. The team is testing to incorporate post-consumer textile waste, which may offer the bonus outcome of growing the mycelium using waste otherwise bound for landfill.

La Saponara, and a diverse team of students and researchers in the Advanced Composites Research, Engineering and Science are testing a prototype on campus.

Check them out:

⌭ @ucdavis

⌭ 📸 UC Davis

⌭ Stay tuned with the latest mushroom innovators, artists and experts @mycostories 🦸🏻‍♀️🍄🦸🏽‍♂️







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