Identification and environmental assessments for different scenarios of repurposed decommissioned wind turbine blades

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



The rapidly growing wind industry poses a fundamental problem for wind turbine blade (WTB) disposal in many areas of the world. WTBs are primarily manufactured from composites consisting of a thermoset matrix and reinforcing fibers. Currently, there are no economically viable recycling technologies available for such large-scale composite products. Thus, other treatment strategies for disposed WTBs have to be considered. This study explores the repurpose of WTBs as a promising alternative approach from a processual and technological point of view. For this purpose, the study is guided by the categorization into four different types of repurposed applications: high-loaded complete structure (T1), low-loaded complete structure (T2), high-loaded segmented structure (T3), and low-loaded segmented structure (T4). A three-dimensional CAD model of an Enercon-40/500 (E40) wind turbine blade is derived in a reverse engineering procedure to obtain knowledge about the actual geometry of the WTB. Based on the design, three ecosystems of product scenarios (S) with different manufacturing technologies involved are investigated: a climbing tower (S1), a playground (S2) and the combination of a photovoltaic (PV)-floating pontoon, and a lounger (S3). A screening life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted to evaluate the three repurposed scenarios according to environmental aspects. It is shown that the repurpose of E40 WTB composite material can reduce the environmental impact and leads to significant resource savings in relation to a reference product of similar quality. A particularly high saving potential is identified for the substitution of emission-intensive materials in construction applications. Furthermore, it is found that transport processes are the primary contributor to the environmental impact of repurposed applications.


FachzeitschriftMaterials Circular Economy
Frühes Online-Datum15 Aug. 2023
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Dez. 2023

Externe IDs

ORCID /0000-0003-2689-1203/work/142234015
ORCID /0000-0003-2834-8933/work/142238451


Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung


  • Composite materials, End-of-life, Wind turbine blades, R-strategies, Repurpose, Life cycle assessment