Blades2Build: Reuse, recovery and recycling of wind turbine blades.

  Graveyard Wind Turbin Blades © The Building Materials – Construction Materials Teaching and Research Area (Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Matschei) is involved in a three-year EU project.

The Blades2Build project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the HORIZON Europe call for proposals. In this project, 14 partners from industry and leading European universities are working on a holistic concept for recycling discarded rotor blades from wind turbines. Together, they are researching options for integrating these rotor blades into new sustainable recycling concepts at the end of their useful life so that they do not have to be dumped in landfills. This is an essential issue, as the cumulative rotor blade waste in 2050 is estimated to be between 21.4 million and 69.4 million tons worldwide. The research underway is therefore also investigating potential for cross-industry benefits and open-loop processes.

A central topic here is the extent to which the recycled waste from rotor blades can be used sensibly and at the same time in an environmentally compatible way in building materials such as concrete. In particular, the Institute for Building Materials Research (ibac) at RWTH Aachen University is conducting tests to improve the mechanical effectiveness, durability and reduction of shrinkage cracks in young concrete. The effects of the developed RC building materials on the local environment due to leaching or, if necessary, outgassing are tested on an application-specific basis, e.g. with leaching tests, and their environmental compatibility is evaluated.

In addition, the Institute for Anthropogenic Material Cycles (ANTS) will evaluate the economic viability and life cycle of the selected recycling approaches.

By the end of this project, the results of Blades2Build will have a significant impact on the successful deployment of renewable wind energy systems, accelerating the transformation to much more sustainable energy infrastructures. This will result in a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the decarbonization of the energy sector and thus to the goals of the EU Green Deal.