Denmark Creatively Recycling Wind Turbine Blades Into Bike Shelters
DENMARK CREATIVELY RECYCLING WIND TURBINE BLADES INTO BIKE SHELTERS
It makes sense that many nations have tried to switch to renewable energy sources as their concerns about climate change have gotten worse in recent years. Wind energy is also one of the most widely used of these more environmentally friendly options. Towering wind turbines have become an iconic part of the native landscape in places like Denmark, where wind and solar power accounted for over half of the country's electricity generation in 2019.
Wind energy does, however, still have advantages and disadvantages, some of which have become more apparent in recent years. The recycling of retired wind turbine blades is the most significant of these. The strength needed for wind turbines to operate correctly necessitates the use of composite materials for the blades, which include glass fibres, resins, and foams. These materials are typically not biodegradable, making them challenging to recycle.
Since wind turbine blades typically have a 20-year lifespan, it will soon be necessary to decommission a significant number of them. It is widely predicted that the worldwide wind industry will produce close to 40 million tons of waste material by 2050, which will need to be disposed of. The good news is that several businesses and research teams are working to recycle and repurpose decommissioned wind turbine blades in more environmentally friendly ways.
The Re-Wind Network is one among these. In Denmark, they have already started repurposing some old blades as bike garages. In order to improve infrastructure, the research team is also investigating ways to recycle wind turbine blades and use them as architectural elements. Using the blades to construct skate parks, pedestrian footbridges, and noise barriers for oncoming traffic are a few of their ideas.
As one of the top organisations involved in the study, the Georgia Institute of Technology's Lawrence C. Bank states, "We're exploring the potential reuse of the blades across architecture and engineering." The development of such techniques can improve water and air quality by reducing a significant source of non-biodegradable waste.
Some businesses are also figuring out how to design wind turbine blades so that they can be disposed of more effectively and sustainably in addition to these repurposing initiatives. Siemens Gamesa, a forerunner in the renewable energy industry, is driving this initiative with the creation and introduction of the “world’s first recyclable wind turbine blade for commercial use.” The innovative resin used to make these blades has a chemical structure that facilitates easier breakdown and separation of the blade's constituent parts, allowing for recycling.