Funding boost for wind turbine recycling program

Monday, 19 June, 2023

Funding boost for wind turbine recycling program

Renewables investor Greencoat UK Wind have awarded a £125K (AU$234K) grant to engineering researchers from the University of Edinburgh to develop an innovative wind turbine recycling process.

The researchers are developing a technique to turn old wind turbine blades into powders that could be used to protect engineering and structural components from corrosion and erosion by the elements, including new wind turbine blades.

Wind energy is a large part of the renewable energy mix being harnessed in the UK’s drive to net zero, but the wind blades will pose an engineering and environmental challenge at the end of their 20- to 25-year lifespan.

Wind turbine blades are usually made from a complex composite of materials bonded together by a strong adhesive known as epoxy and reinforced with fibres, making them difficult and expensive to separate and recycle.

Prof Vasileios Koutsos and Dr Dipa Roy from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering have received the funding for a 12-month research project — ‘Added-value CoatTings’ (ACT) — to develop the technique.

The coating produced would help protect new wind turbine blades from erosion caused by raindrops and other particulates. It could also be used in the built environment, for example, to prevent corrosion on the cables of suspension bridges.

“We are delighted to have been awarded the funding for this innovative project and look forward to using our materials expertise to create a novel recycling technology that is likely to have considerable commercial impact,” Koutsos said.

The project is being supported by the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations, which helped secure the funding.

Dr Dipa Roy (left) and Professor Vasileios Koutsos in the materials lab at UoE-2.

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