Solutions for recycling emerging wind turbine blade waste in China are not yet effective
Wind power supply chains are evolving as markets expand to reach climate goals. With the largest installed wind power capacity globally, China must deal with increasing composite turbine waste and anticipate its associated costs.
Here we predict the quantity and composition of wind turbine blade waste based on historic deployment. A high-resolution database containing 14 turbine capacities (150–5500 kilowatts) was compiled based on 104 turbine models. The environmental and financial costs of waste treatment options were evaluated using a bottom-up approach.
Based on current installations and future projections, 7.7 to 23.1 million tonnes of blade waste will be generated in China by 2050. Technologies exist to recycle glass fibre from blade waste, but these solutions vary in level of maturity and are not always commercially available, cost-competitive, or environmentally sustainable.
Our findings can inform decision-makers in governments and industry on the pathways to carbon neutrality.
Photo credit: Vista Wei on Unsplash