An integrated geospatial approach for repurposing wind turbine blades

Emma L. Delaney*, Jennifer M. McKinley, William Megarry, Conor Graham, Paul G. Leahy, Lawrence C. Bank, Russell C. Gentry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The End-of-Life (EOL) stage of the first commercial wind farms is fast approaching and uncertainty remains in how to deal with their non-biodegradable Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composite wind turbine blades. Repurposing options could potentially delay large volumes of material entering unsustainable waste streams such as landfill or incineration and contribute to the circular economy. To plan waste management methods as well as inform the collective team of policy makers, decision makers and local governments, it is essential to understand and assess the geographical variability in the quantity of potential FRP composite blade waste material. Decisions regarding EOL blades are complex due to the varying numbers of blades and diversity in models, therefore it is essential that decommissioning plans are tailored for each location. This research introduces an innovative spatiotemporal approach to investigate the magnitude of the problem and quantify blade waste material associated with the EOL stage of wind turbine blades using the island of Ireland case study. The technical and spatiotemporal variability is assessed through an integrated Geographical Information Science (GIS) framework and online dashboard for decision-making. The findings indicate that for the island of Ireland approximately 53,000 tonnes of composite material will reach the EOL stage by 2040 with highest material densities located in the west and southwest of the island. The integrated GIS approach provides important information on blade type and model to assist decision-making on the design of repurposing strategies for FRP composite blades and provides an exemplar for other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105601
Number of pages12
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume170
Early online date19 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 19 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • End-of-Life
  • Circular economy
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Kernel Density Estimator
  • Ireland
  • Composite GFRP waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Information Systems

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