Process of mechanical recycling and the upcycling of the composite components of wind turbine blades into concrete and hydrocarbon type materials for road construction

Since the years 2000, the wind energy sector has been undergoing significant growth in Belgium and throughout Europe. Given the lifespan of wind turbines, various forecasts demonstrate that their dismantling should, from 2025 onwards, generate important waste streams of materials to be recycled.

Whilst the majority of the materials they are made of (concrete, steel) have outlets in existing recycling sectors, no durable upcycling pathway exists for the composite materials, primarily reinforced with glass fibres. Whilst they merely amount to less than 10% of the wind turbine, they form around 90% of the turbine’s blades.

The recycling of these materials and these blades constitutes the main technological barrier for the upcycling of wind turbines. The Recypale project thus aims to develop a specific treatment blueprint for wind turbine blades and above all to upcycle the fractions rich in glass fibres into the formulations of road materials (concrete, coated macadam).