SP4: Sustainability and Circularity

Wind turbines are still comparatively material-intensive and require the use of high-grade materials such as copper or rare earths. There is thus a need to further reduce the overall material requirements of wind turbines, especially regarding the high-grade and rare materials. With a significant proportion of the installed wind turbines approaching the end of their lifetime between 2020 and 2030 globally, end-of-life management, particularly for the blades, becomes increasingly important. So far, maintenance, reuse and repair/refurbishment solutions are found to be advantageous in several aspects compared to recycling or new materials. There is ongoing research further developing these solutions, especially for the shorter-term end-of-life management strategies. However, new recycling technologies as well as new generation of wind turbine blade materials are steadily reaching higher technology readiness levels (TRL), though a number of technical and legislative challenges remains. 

The sub-themes in this sub-programme :

  • Material Substitution for decarbonation
  • Recycling methods
  • Lifetime extension via re-using, refurbishing and re-purposing
  • New decommissioning tools and methods
  • Biodiversity solutions