Scottish Scientists Developing New Ways to Recycle Old Wind Turbine Blades

Engineering researchers, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, have won a GBP 125,000 grant from renewables investor Greencoat UK Wind to develop their innovative wind turbine recycling process.

University of Edinburgh

The researchers are developing a technique to turn old wind turbine blades into powders that could be used to protect engineering and structural components, including new wind turbine blades.

Wind turbine blades are usually huge structures, made from a complex composite of materials bonded together by a strong adhesive known as epoxy, and reinforced with fibres – making them difficult and expensive to separate and recycle, according to the press release.

Professor Vasileios Koutsos and Dr. Dipa Roy, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, have devised a method to turn decommissioned blade materials into powders that could be used in surface coatings, to protect engineering and structural components from corrosion and erosion by the elements.

“The recycling of the fibre-reinforced, epoxy-based composites used in many applications, including wind turbine blades, has become of critical importance for net zero targets,” said Koutsos.

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The coating produced would help protect new wind turbine blades from erosion caused by raindrops and other particulates and could be used in the built environment as well, for example, to prevent corrosion on the cables of suspension bridges.

The researchers received funding from Greencoat UK Wind for a twelve-month research project – “Added-value CoatTings” (ACT) – to develop the process.


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