What to do with old wind turbine blades?

(Photo: Gilbert Mercier/flickr)

Bits of old plastic wind turbine blades are to be trialled for use instead of steel rebar to reinforce concrete on parts of the HS2 project, in the UK.

The Skanska Costain Strabag (SCS) joint venture, building the southern section of HS2 phase one, is looking to reinforce its concrete with sections of glass fibre reinforced polymer turbine blades that have reached the end of their operational lives.

By 2023, around 15,000 wind turbine blades will have been decommissioned across the UK and EU. Until now, expired blades have either been ground down to be used as building materials or sent to waste incinerators.

The contracting JV is working with the National Composites Centre on the recycling initiative.

With the innovation at an early stage, reuse will focus on swapping steel for turbine blades in low stress structures such as temporary access roads, top sections of concrete walls and ground bearing plinths – like those on which site compounds might sit.

Work on the proof of concept pilot is due to start in spring 2021 and, if successful, could be followed by a full roll out across SCS’s entire 26km route, from Northolt to Euston station.

Read more at The Construction Index