Re-Wind: Re-use and recycling of Decommissioned Composite Material Wind Turbine Blades

Re-Wind: Re-use and recycling of Decommissioned Composite Material Wind Turbine Blades

Researchers: Paul Leahy PI; Niall Dunphy (co-PI); Ger Mullally (co-PI)

Email: paul.leahy@ucc.ie

Telephone number: +353 21 4902017

Funding Body: Science Foundation Ireland, Department of Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland) and National Science Foundation (USA).

Project type: Tripartite Research Project

Period: 2017-2019

Project description:

Wind energy technology has grown rapidly in the past 15 years. Given the 20-year lifespan of non-biodegradable blades in current wind turbines, many will need to be disposed of in the near future. Re-Wind is seeking an alternative to unsustainable disposal methods such as landfill and incineration.

The project will explore the blades’ potential reuse in architectural and engineering structures. Such methods can have a positive effect on air quality and water quality, while decreasing a major source of non-biodegradable waste .The project spans the disciplines of engineering, architecture, geography, sociology, and political science.

Re-Wind aims to find a socially acceptable reuse and recycling method for the non-biodegradable composite materials used in wind turbine blades. Wind energy already provides a sustainable source of electricity, Re-Wind aims to make the turbines themselves more sustainable. The research will provide valuable information about wind energy to energy and waste-management policymakers, wind energy operators, wind turbine manufacturers and installers, along with concerned community members.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork

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