Adaptive Reuse Of FRP Composite Wind Turbine Blades For Civil Infrastructure Construction


The rapid growth in wind energy technology has led to an increase in the amount of thermosetting FRP composite materials used in wind turbine blades that will need to be recycled or disposed of in the near future. Calculations show that 16.8 million tons of waste from wind blades will need to be managed globally by 2030, increasing to 39.8 million tons by 2050. Three waste management route are possible: disposal, recycling or reusing. Currently, most FRP composites taken out of service are disposal of in landfills or are incinerated. Recycling options consist of reclamation of the constituent fibers or the resins by thermo–chemical methods or recycling of small pieces of granular FRP material as filler material by cutting, shredding or grinding. Reuse options consist of reusing the entire FRP blade or large parts of the blade in new structural applications. 

This paper reports on the potential for reusing parts of wind turbine blades in new or retrofitted architectural and civil infrastructure projects. The paper introduces the geometry, materials, and laminates typically used in wind blades and provides a snapshot of the sizes of wind blades likely to be available from the inventory of active turbines. Because the materials and manufacturing of commercial wind blades are proprietary, generic blade geometries and materials are discussed. These come from the Sandia National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in the United States, and from OPTIMAT in the European Union. The paper presents an example of the geometry and material properties of structural elements cut from wind blades, using the Numerical Manufacturing and Design Tool (NUMAD), published by the Sandia National Laboratory. 

Recycling of FRP Composites, Adaptive Reuse, Design of FRP Structures, Composite Wind Turbine Blades

T.R. Gentry, L.C. Bank, J.F. Chen, F.Arias, T. Al-Haddad, “Adaptive Reuse of FRP Composite Wind Turbine Blades for Civil Infrastructure Construction,” CICE 2018, Paris, FRANCE, July 17-19, 2018, USB.