Opportunities from the Recycling of Wind Turbine Blades
Periscope partner OREC and the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Technology Centre have published a report calling for increased investment and a radical shift in research and development into wind turbine blade recycling. The report cites the huge economic opportunities for the UK supply chain from a circular economy approach in offshore wind that could extend the sector's UK job creation targets by 30%, creating an extra 20 000 jobs.
The report identified 14 technologies that show promise for recovering blade materials but that further work was needed before we see them deployed at scale, particularly around issues of environmental impacts, energy use and cost efficiency of techniques such as pyrolysis (heat treatment of composites).
This gives a golden opportunity for companies to provide solutions for the identified recycling needs. It is estimated that the global offshore wind industry will need to decommission 85GW of capacity (including 325 000 blades) by mid-century. While these estimates assume today’s 25-year lifecycle, they give an illustration of the scale of the future global market for circular economy pioneers in the sector.