Task 3.3 Sustainable Business Models and the Circular Economy

Demonstrating the economic feasibility of recycling wind turbine blades is one of the main challenges reported in the literature. To date, recycling wind turbine blades has mainly resulted in materials of poor quality which are more expensive compared to similar virgin counterparts. To tackle this issue some of the costs may be driven down by technological or logistical improvements in the recycling processes. Another approach is to introduce regulations to increase the cost of unsustainable end-of-life solutions such as landfills. A further important aspect is to ensure an adequate supply of end-of-life wind turbine blade materials in order to ensure the economic success of recycling approaches. In this subtask, life cycle costing (LCC) will be used as a tool to review and compare recycling processes and identify possible cost mitigation measures. The circular economy is also envisaged as a possible approach. Measuring “circularity” is not straightforward. A useful piece of research is to examine how measures of circularity can apply to wind turbine blades and inform future blade designs and choices of blade materials.

Paul Task 45

Paul Leahy
UCC, University College of Cork


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