A major project to develop wind turbine blade recycling in Britain for the first time has been given the go-ahead after winning a UK Government grant.
The £2million three-year project involves a consortium led by Aker Offshore Wind and Scottish researchers, with the aim of ensuring a more sustainable future for the global wind industry and the wider composites manufacturing industry – accelerating the drive towards net zero emissions and waste and creating new skills and job opportunities in the UK.
The pilot will now get underway to develop a commercially viable solution, overseen by industry lead Aker Offshore Wind, trade body Composites UK, researchers at the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Composites Group and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland's Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, which is operated by Strathclyde, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult and supported by Scottish Government.
Other academic and industry partners include Nottingham University, global waste management firm SUEZ, composite distributor GRP Solutions and composite part manufacturer Cubis.
The project is set up to commercialise a revolutionary method developed by the University of Strathclyde to separate the glass-fibre and resin components in composites and recover the glass-fibre component which can then be reprocessed, moulded, and reused in other industries, such as the motor trade and the construction industry.
Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency, has awarded £1.3 million to the project, with Aker Offshore Wind contributing more than £500,000 to make the project a reality.
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.
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