Wind Turbine Blade Recycling has "Tons" of Potential

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), in collaboration with the American Composite Manufacturers Association (ACMA), addresses scientific questions related to recycling millions of tons of wind turbine blades that would otherwise end up in landfills, in a recently published report. The analysis provides guidance on wind power industry R&D priorities, including the magnitude of the wind turbine blade waste issue, potential recycling and repurposing solutions, and next steps for research and development.

"By 2050, the industry could send approximately 4 million tons of wind turbine blades to U.S. landfills," said EPRI Senior Technical Executive Ken Ladwig. "This report points to promising technologies to avoid waste disposal and explores the need for further review and development of recycling technologies. It also shows us the need for the collaborative development of a commercial-scale facility to process blades at the end of their useful life, as a key aspect of a sustainable and economically viable solution."

The commercially available technologies reviewed by the report include:

- Turbine blade life extension.
- Pyrolysis (a process to repurpose materials from composites for energy).
- Cement kilns applications.
- Grinding turbine blades to re-use them as filler material in a variety of products.

The assessment is based on interviews with industry leaders and experts around the world, focusing on four key questions of turbine blade recycling:

- Wind turbine blade scrap resources.
- Material and energy recovery technology.
- Site location considerations.
- Summary of models that address technical and economic viability of recycling processes.

ACMA's Interim President Kevin Barnett said, "As the composites industry looks ahead to the next revolution in manufacturing, recycling and sustainability are critical issues. This important report provides insights from key industry stakeholders that will inform and promote long-term strategies, new technologies and collaboration to pioneer energy-efficient composite manufacturing and EOL recycling."

"Wind Turbine Blade Recycling: Preliminary Assessment" is free to download on EPRI's website and will be presented at ACMA's 2020 Composite Recycling Conference.

About ACMA
The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) is the world's largest composites industry trade group. We are manufacturers, material and equipment suppliers, distributors, academia and end users, dedicated to growing the composites market. We serve our members and the industry by promoting the competitive advantage and versatility of composite materials. ACMA offers composites industry educational resources through our Education Hub, CAMX, conferences, webinars, and Certified Composites Technician (CCT®) program. We develop standards and specifications that drive preference for the use of composites in place of traditional materials. We lead advocacy efforts via legislative and regulatory channels to achieve a more viable composites industry. Together, we are shaping the future of composites.

About EPRI
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, that conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public, on a non-discriminatory basis. An independent organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI's members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to nearly 40 countries. EPRI's principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

Barry Black

Donald Cutler

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SOURCE Electric Power Research Institute