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Turning turbines into works of art for the good of the community

From generating energy from the wind to brightening up public spaces and bringing communities together through creativity and art, Canvus breathes new life into retired wind turbine blades in a unique recycling initiative. PES was keen to find out more about the idea from Managing Partner Brian Donahue. He tells us where the concept came from and how it is demonstrating a sustainable model for environmental responsibility and public engagement.

PES: Firstly, if we may, it would be great to start by getting an overview of Canvus and its mission within the wind industry?

Brian Donahue: Canvus manufactures products from retired wind turbine blades. We saw the issue in the industry for years with the blades, and not having a viable solution at scale to upcycle them as opposed to grinding them up for use as alternative fuel or aggregate. That’s where we came up with the idea to actually make products that go to public spaces, and inspire communities and their citizens.

PES: Tell us more about where the inspiration for the creation of Canvus and its unique approach to repurposing wind turbine blades into pieces of functional art for public spaces came from.

BD: One of our founders was taking a look at a number of different options for a good recycling solution for the fiberglass blades. In any case, when you’re recycling fiberglass blades, you have to cut them in the field to move them off the farm safely and efficiently, so we cut them into what we call cross-sections along the blade. This individual looked at that and, I don’t know exactly where his inspiration came from, but realised if you just kept cutting them into smaller cross sections, which we ended up calling filets, you could add other materials to that to create benches and planters and tables out of them.

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