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Wind is now the UK’s second largest source of power, contributing 26.8% of electricity in 2022. With approximately 11,000 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 28 gigawatts, the United Kingdom currently has the world’s sixth greatest capacity. However, the tremendous increase and magnitude of wind power is posing certain environmental difficulties. Many first-generation wind turbines are nearing the end of their useful lives and will need to be replaced by more contemporary and efficient turbines.
Following a successful pilot at Enva’s Ayrshire plant, Enva is now rolling out a solution for wind energy producers that will see discarded turbine blades crushed and shredded to recover recyclable components such as steel. The remaining material is subsequently utilised in EfW (energy from waste) plants to replace traditional fossil fuels. To facilitate processing and shipping, the blades are chopped into three 50-metre lengths before being transferred to Enva’s recycling plant.
Michelle Scott, Operations Director, Enva says, “Enva is committed to bringing at least one new recycling process to market every year and the opening of our wind turbine blade recycling facility is another tangible example of this innovation and investment.
The increased use of alternative energy sources will result in new waste streams which will each require managing in a way that enables us to unlock their circular economy and commercial value. We look forward to continuing to work with the Wind Sector and other energy companies to help them realise these benefits.”
By 2025, the UK and Europe are scheduled to decommission 25,000 tonnes of wind turbine blades per year, rising to 52,000 by 2030.