The first wind farms in the UK and Europe are approaching the end of their 25-year lifespan, promoting the wind energy sector to invest in a range of innovative recycling projects focusing on re-using wind turbine parts that have reached the end of their lifecycle.
Blades into bike sheleters
We were delighted to support our client Thrive Renewables with a recent project to replace the blades from their Sigurd project on Orkney and to assist with the identification of potential routes to reuse the 22-year-old blades that were being removed. At this stage, it was not considered possible for the blades to be reused on another wind project, so alternative options had to be investigated.
Because wind turbine blades are made primarily from fibreglass and other composite materials, they can be challenging to recycle. We identified ReBlade as one of the first UK companies to decommission turbine blades without the use of landfill, pioneering innovative approaches to blade handling that enable circular end-destinations for blade waste.
Thrive Renewables has entered into a repurposing partnership with ReBlade which will see the blades removed from Sigurd to be turned into useful items for councils, communities, and businesses. These will include sustainable bench seating, bike shelters, EV charging stations, and even bespoke dining tables – something any wind asset manager would be proud to serve supper on!
Supporting a sustainable future
Across the renewables sector, a high level of attention is given to maximising the life expectancy of components through ever more sophisticated asset management techniques and sustainable sourcing of components where replacements are necessary. When components have reached the end of their operational life owners and managers also have a responsibility to consider what happens to those removed components and not just to consider the waste disposal route as so often has been the case in the past.
At Bridge Wind Management, we are committed to supporting our client’s sustainability goals and helping to establish future routes to repurposing and recycling components once they reach the end of their design lives as part of life extension, project repowering or decommissioning and new project development strategies.
As we enter a new and important phase in the wind energy lifecycle, we look forward to future projects, collaborating with clients and introducing innovations that are taking us closer to a sustainable future, one blade at a time!
Read more on the Thrive Renewables turbines to tabletops repurposing project here