SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE AS A MOTOR FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSVERSAL SKILLS IN MATERIALS SCIENCE AND UNDERGRADUATE THESIS IN CHEMISTRY: SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS FOR WIND TURBINES
1 University of The Basque Country (SPAIN)
2 University of Valladolid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Sustainability is one of the great concerns of the forthcoming decades. The mode of production, the depletion of raw materials and the accumulation of waste are problems that this society has to face. In this context, the vast majority of these problems are defined in the 2030 Agenda Project, within the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are considered essential for economic, ecological and social growth. Specifically, the action described in this work could be included in at least three SDGs: GOAL 9: Affordable and Clean Energy, GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
Taking this goals into account, a series of activities focused on the development of new sustainable materials to be used in wind turbines were proposed. Thus, the development of new materials from the approach of Circular Economy trying to maximize the improvement of closed-loop materials was the guiding thread for the suggested activities. These actions were carried out by the students enrolled on Polymer Chemistry course (4th undergraduate course in Chemistry Degree) and for the undergraduate thesis of several students of the Chemistry Degree.
On the one hand, the students of the Polymer Chemistry course analyzed the components of the wind turbines, in order to determine which of them were made with polymer-based composite materials. Subsequently, and after studying the properties required in each case, they proposed more sustainable and bio-based alternatives to replace each of the materials. On the other hand, the students who carried out their thesis in this context, focused their goal on the search of materials with better reprocessing or recycling, looking for an alternative to the epoxy resins commonly used in wind turbine blades It is noteworthy that the search for new, more sustainable alternatives to commonly used materials increases not only the knowledge related to these materials but also the awareness of the problems that recycling large parts can entail. In addition, the interest generated by sustainable energies such as wind energy makes the interest of the students for the project is considerably greater than other proposed works. In consequence, this enhances the motivation to develop this type of complementary activities in which specific and transversal skills are developed. Moreover, awareness of the problem raised and the search for more sustainable alternatives are also promoted.
Keywords: Chemistry, Polymers, Materials, ODS, Transversal Skills.