Aker Offshore Wind will lead a £2m project to develop wind turbine blade recycling in Britain for the first time, an effort supported by Innovate UK.

The three-year project involves a consortium that includes trade body Composites UK and researchers at Strathclyde University’s Advanced Composites Group and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Group.

Its aim is to ensure a sustainable future for the global wind sector and wider composites manufacturing industry by making recycling of composite parts the norm and ensuring the industry is a ‘driving force for a new circular economy’.

The project will commercialise a method developed by Strathclyde researchers to separate the glass-fibre and resin components in composites and recover the glass-fibre component. This can then be re-processed, moulded and reused in other industries such as automotive and construction.

When giant turbine blades reach end of life, there are currently two options for managing the waste: sending them to landfill, or waste-to-energy plants where they are combusted at significant energy cost.

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