ABERDEEN, UK – A consortium led by Aker Offshore Wind has started a project to develop wind turbine blade recycling in Britain, following the award of a grant by Innovate UK.
The £2-million ($2.7-million), three-year project, has support from trade group Composites UK and researchers at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Composites Group and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.
Other partners include Nottingham University, waste management firm SUEZ, composite distributor GRP Solutions, and composite part manufacturer Cubis.
The consortium will seek to commercialize a method developed by the University of Strathclyde to separate glass-fiber and resin components in composites and recover the glass-fiber component.
This can then be reprocessed, molded, and re-used by other industries.
Currently, when large turbine blades reach the end of their working lives, there are two options for managing the waste: landfill or waste-to-energy plants where they are combusted.
Waste from wind turbine blades alone could reach around 2 MM metric tons (2.2 MM tons) globally by 2050, with UK volumes of composite waste already above 100,000 metric tons (110,231 tons) annually.
Aker Offshore Wind is supporting WindEurope’s call for a Europe-wide landfill ban on decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2025.