15 March 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Developing composite recycling technologies

The €10mln EU co-funded project EoLO-HUBs demonstrates solutions to recycle materials from wind turbine blades.

© Photo by Tyler Davis on Unsplash

The National Composites Centre, UK, will participate in the European project EoLO-HUBs to develop technologies to recycle materials such as glass and carbon fibre from wind turbine blades.

EoLO-HUBs seeks to address three main areas:

  • Decommissioning and pre-treatment of wind turbine blades, including handling, non-destructive inspection tools, cutting, shredding and sorting.
  • Sustainable fibre reclamation processes addressing two alternative technologies: low-carbon pyrolysis and green chemistry solvolysis.
  • Upgrading processes for the recovered fibres, including both glass fibre and carbon fibre.

The timeline of the project is 48 months and being led by a consortium that includes the research divisions of several industrial companies.

The National Composites Centre states Europe currently accounts for more than 70% of all global wind power. Wind turbines blades are made of a variety of materials, such as wood, metals, adhesives, coatings and composites - which makes recycling them more challenging.

Recycling composite materials often lead to 'downgrading', resulting in a raw material with low performance and low value, and so most end-of-life composites are currently landfilled or incinerated.

The project says their planned digital knowledge hub will help provide a circular economy framework.