In Germany, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a buoyant wood foam from balsa salvaged from out-of-commission wind turbines that can be used to produce paddle boards and surfboards.
The project is known as ecoSUP. Balsa wood from nonoperational wind turbines is often burned.
“In the interests of environmental protection and resource conservation, we want to use natural fibers and bio-based polymers wherever it is technically possible,” Pöhler says research lead Christoph Pöhler, of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI). “In standard boards, a polystyrene core, which we know as Styrofoam, is reinforced with fiberglass and sealed with an epoxy resin. We, instead, use bio-based lightweight material.”