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Recycling Wind Turbine Blades

Recycling Wind Turbine Blades
May 20, 2024 Jacob Cunningham

As the first waves of commercial wind turbines erected in the nineties reach the end of their lifespan (roughly 25 years), a question arises; what do we do with them.

Most parts of a wind turbine can be easily repurposed, reused or recycled; the main tower is typically just a support structure made from steel which can be reused or melted down, the internal workings of the turbine can also be reused or repurposed with relative ease, the main issues lies with the turbine blades… 

Wind Turbine Blades

Wind turbine blades are made of lightweight, strong materials that are resistant to natural erosion processes (usually fibreglass), as a result, they are not so easily recycled. They can be reused on other turbines with relative ease, however the issue there is that modern day turbines are typically much larger than they used to be, and so most blades will not be able to be reused for their original function. 

recycling wind turbine blades

Figure 1:  Wind Turbine.

However, there is some hope for improving the prospects of old turbine blades. The first prospect is in reuse for alternative applications. An old turbine blade may not swing through the sky again, but its strong and lightweight structure make it ideal for certain building applications, researchers in Queen’s University Belfast have designed a pedestrian footbridge which uses wind turbine blades as the rails and supporting structure [2]. They also make perfect bus shelter roofs!

Recycling Fibreglass

The second prospect is through a somewhat new form of recycling for fibreglass, where the blades will be shredded and the mixed with chemicals and cement to produce concrete [3]. While the manufacturing of concrete does not have the best of green credentials due to the high carbon emissions resulting from the heating of limestone, this method of using recycled fibreglass does reduce the total amount of raw cement required and therefor does improve the carbon footprint of the concrete produced. This is, however, unlikely to have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of concrete production worldwide.

Alternatively, and perhaps the best prospect going forward, is to make wind turbine blades out of more sustainable and recyclable or biodegradable materials, read all about this our article “The Next Step Towards Fully Recyclable Wind Turbines”, here.

About Pager Power 

Pager Power undertakes technical assessments for developers of renewable energy projects and tall buildings worldwide. For more information about what we do, please get in touch.


[1] “Can Wind Turbine Blades Be Recycled”, NationalGrid, 28 April 2023.
(Online) Available: [Accessed 17 May 2024].

[2] “Wind Turbine Blades Could Soon Appear on Your Street”, Newsweek, 26 September 2023.
(Online) Available:,of%20them%20going%20to%20waste. [Accessed 17 May 2024].

[3] “Wind Turbine Blades Don’t Have To End Up In Landfills”, Union of Concerned Scientists, 30 October 2020.
(Online) Available: [Accessed 17 May 2024]

Figure 1: Wind Turbine,, 12 May 2020. (Online) Available:  [Accessed 17 May 2024]


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