By Power Engineering International

Although wind is expected to play a key role in environmental sustainability through the decarbonization of power generation, adopting a circular approach across the entire value chain is vital.

With over 14,000 wind turbine blades expected to reach the end of their usable life within the next three years in the UK, recycling them will help the sector reduce its carbon footprint, according to the Wind Turbine Blade Recycling P2 report released by the Energy Transition Alliance.

The report states that cross-sector collaboration is needed in the UK to maximize wind turbine recycling and to make the region a global leader in a circular economy within the wind turbine sector.

The report, compiled using funds from the Net Zero Technology Centre and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, provides five recommendations the UK can adopt to improve the application of circular economy approaches within the wind turbine industry:

Encouraging the use of materials that will be more compatible with a circular economyDeveloping processes which are cheaper and easier for recovery of materials during decommissioningCreating industrial-scale pilot projects to validate new methods and technologies for recyclingEstablishing a supply chain market for recycled materialEducating the marketplace on opportunities for recycled materials from wind turbines.

Pamela Lomoro, Project Manager at the Net Zero Technology Centre said: “…the early generation of turbines are now being decommissioned and replaced with higher capacity models.

“The report illustrates what can be achieved in this industry if we can develop a collaborative approach that involves all sectors striving for sustainable decommissioning. With input from manufacturers through to end-users, we can reinvent how wind turbines are recycled.”

By adopting a cross-sector approach, the UK could recover up to 50,000 tonnes of composite material and recycle it for a variety of re-use applications by 2023.

The report states that collaboration amongst players in various industries could help the

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