Composites UK is involved in a new major project to develop wind turbine blade recycling in Britain.
The £2 million three-year project, which involves a consortium led by Aker Offshore Wind and Scottish researchers, aims at commercializing a method developed by the University of Strathclyde to separate the glass fiber and resin components in composites and recover the glass fiber component to be reprocessed, moulded, and reused in other industries, such as the motor trade and the construction industry.
Innovate UK has awarded £1.3 million to the project, with Aker Offshore Wind contributing more than £500,000, Composites UK said.
‘At present, when giant turbine blades reach the end of their working lives, there are only two options for managing the waste: send them to a landfill or to waste-to-energy plants where they are combusted at significant energy cost,’ the organization explained. ‘The environmental benefits from this project cannot be understated as waste from wind turbine blades alone are expected to reach around 2 million tonnes globally by 2050, and UK volumes of composite waste already exceed 100,000 tonnes per year.’
‘This project is a vital step towards establishing a commercial recycling route for composite materials in the UK and beyond, covering both wind turbine blades and several other applications in the construction and transport sectors,’ said Malcolm Forsyth, sustainability manager at Composites UK. ‘Composite materials combining glass fiber and polymer resin systems have a huge role to play in enabling the UK economy to transition to net zero and we need effective recycling at end of life to ensure that composite materials achieve high levels of circularity in future.’
This story uses material from Composites UK, with editorial changes made by Materials Today.