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UK’s National Composites Centre (NCC) has launched the initiative SusWIND to accelerate the development of technology, processes and materials that address the recyclability and future development of composite wind turbine blades.
 
Delivered in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and supported by The Crown Estate and RenewableUK, SusWIND is helping to drive the future sustainability of wind turbine technology. It brings together stakeholders in the composites industry and energy sector to solve the following sustainability challenges: 
 
Recycle: Demonstrating viable technologies for recycling the existing stock of wind turbine blades and then using the waste materials to develop secondary applications such as composite parts in electric vehicles, bridges and even in thermal insulation. 
 
Sustain: Driving the use of more sustainable materials, such as bio-derived feedstock or thermoplastics in developing composites for turbine blades, rather than from unsustainable sources or with limited potential for economic recyclability. 
 
Design: Developing new approaches based on design for disassembly, utilising sustainable materials and with end-of-life strategies in mind, therefore future-proofing the next generation of wind turbine blades. 
 
The initiative will be delivered in three waves of activities to address the sustainability challenges for wind turbine blades: 
 
Wave 1 will stimulate the supply chain for blade recycling and how it leverages the broader supply chain for composites recycling demand with other sectors. Work packages including landscape mapping, exploitation routes for upscaling viable technologies and demonstrating the effective use of recycled materials in value-add products for other applications.
 
Wave 2 will demonstrate options to reduce the environmental footprint of blade manufacture through the use of more sustainable and lower impact material feedstock, and through minimising or recycling waste streams.
 
Wave 3 will develop robust guidelines to improve design for end-of-life, ensuring waste is minimised and that composite components can be disassembled for cost effective repaired, re-used, remanufactured and recycled more efficiently and cost effectively.
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