Case studies of repurposing FRP wind blades for second-life new infrastructure

L. C. Bank*, T. R. Gentry, T. Al-Haddad, A. Alshannaq, Z. Zhang, M. Bermek, Y. Henao, A. McDonald, S. Li, A. Poff, J. Respert, C. Woodham, A. Nagle, P. Leahy, K. Ruane, A. Huynh, M. Soutsos, J. McKinley, E. Delaney, C. Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper presents two case studies of the repurposing projects of decommissioned wind turbine blades in architectural and structural engineering applications conducted under a multinational research project is entitled “Re-Wind” (www.re-wind.info) that was funded by the US-Ireland Tripartite program. The group has worked closely together in the Re-Wind Network over the past five years to conduct research on the topic of repurposing of decommissioned FRP wind turbine blades. Repurposing is defined by the ReWind team as the reverse engineering, redesigning and remanufacturing of a wind blade that has reached the end of its life on a turbine and taken out of service and then reused as a load-bearing structural element in a new structure (e.g., bridge, transmission pole, sound barrier, sea-wall, shelter). Further repurposing examples are provided in a publicly available Re-Wind Design Catalog. The Re-Wind Network was the first group to develop practical methods and design procedures to make these new “second-life” structures. The Network has developed design and construction details for two full-size prototype demonstration structures – a pedesrian bridge constructed in Cork, Ireland in January 2022 and a transmission pole to be constructed at the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Lincoln and Ellsworth Counties, in Kansas, USA in the late 2022. The paper pro-vides details on the planning, design, analysis, testing and construction of these two demonstration projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent perspectives and new directions in mechanics, modelling and design of structural systems: proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, 5-7 September 2022, Cape Town, South Africa
EditorsAlphose Zingoni
PublisherCRC Press
Pages1441-1446
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781003348443, 9781003348450
ISBN (Print)9781032391144
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sept 2022
Event8th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, SEMC 2022 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 05 Sept 202207 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation

Conference

Conference8th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation, SEMC 2022
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town
Period05/09/202207/09/2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The repurposing of a wind blade as a power transmission pole, called BladePole, was investigated by the Georgia Tech team starting in 2019. The Blade-Pole initiative was initially funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and in 2021, the Georgia Tech Re-Wind team received a second NSF grant from the Partnership for Innovation (PFI) program which focuses on commercialization of ReWind technology, including the BladePole.

Funding Information:
ABSTRACT: This paper presents two case studies of the repurposing projects of decommissioned wind turbine blades in architectural and structural engineering applications conducted under a multinational research project is entitled “Re-Wind” (www.re-wind.info) that was funded by the US-Ireland Tripartite program. The group has worked closely together in the Re-Wind Network over the past five years to conduct research on the topic of repurposing of decommissioned FRP wind turbine blades. Repurposing is defined by the ReWind team as the reverse engineering, redesigning and remanufacturing of a wind blade that has reached the end of its life on a turbine and taken out of service and then reused as a load-bearing structural element in a new structure (e.g., bridge, transmission pole, sound barrier, sea-wall, shelter). Further repurposing examples are provided in a publicly available Re-Wind Design Catalog. The Re-Wind Network was the first group to develop practical methods and design procedures to make these new “second-life” structures. The Network has developed design and construction details for two full-size prototype demonstration structures – a pedestrian bridge constructed in Cork, Ireland in January 2022 and a transmission pole to be constructed at the Smoky Hills Wind Farm in Lincoln and Ellsworth Counties, in Kansas, USA in the late 2022. The paper provides details on the planning, design, analysis, testing and construction of these two demonstration projects.

Funding Information:
Support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grants 2016409, 1701413, and 1701694; by InvestNI/ Department for the Economy (DfE) under grant 16/ US/3334 and by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) under grant USI-116 as part of the US-Ireland Tripartite research program. Support from Re-Wind partners in Ireland (Cork County Council, MTU, CSEA, Everrun, Lemac, AR Brownlow), and in the US (ENEL Green Power, Logisticus, and Hubbell Power Systems) is acknowledged.

Funding Information:
Decommissioned GE37 wind blades parts supplied to the research team by Logistcus Group, which were used for materials testing and fabricating a BladePole prototype. The prototyping and testing were funded by ENEL Green Power and the hardware was provided by Hubbell Power Systems, Inc. The GE37 wind blades were decommissioned from a wind farm in Langford, Texas after 11 years in service. The final BladePole product is planned to be constructed near a wind farm in Kansas in late 2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 the Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Computational Mechanics

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