In the years to come, the first large-scale wind turbine parks will be decomissioned. Their materials must be reused to the greatest extent possible. This project will investigate and develop sustainable solutions for the various parts of the decomissioning process.
Offshore wind turbines have an expected lifetime of 20–25 years. When an offshore wind turbine has reached the end of its usable life, it must be either renovated or removed. In the vast majority of cases, renovating wind turbines that have reached this stage is unprofitable or impossible, meaning that the turbines must be removed, potentially to be replaced by newer, more efficient turbines (known as “repowering”). The challenge here consists of finding sustainable solutions for removing worn-out turbines and other elements of wind turbine parks. In particular, there is a need for sustainable solutions for reusing parts that were previously sent to be disposed of.
The EU’s Interreg North Sea programme has proposed a project to find sustainable solutions for removing worn-out offshore wind turbines. Together with a variety of European partners, Energy Cluster Denmark is participating in Decom Tools, a project to find sustainable solutions for disassembly, disposal, and reuse of offshore wind turbines. The project incorporates not only disassembly methods, but also material breakdown and reuse.
Energy Cluster Denmark also has special responsibilities as the leader for the portion of the project dealing with material reuse and repowering. The project is divide into phases, the first of which concerns the development of ideas to be tested in later phases. The project is surveying new innovative, environmentally friendly concepts for reusing offshore wind turbines. Areas considered in the survey include logistics, safety, ship design, upcycling, and recycling.
In the first phase of the project, knowledge and experience from an extensive array of businesses and institutes of knowledge is being collected. Together, they have comprehensive knowledge of the possibilities for sustainable reuse of offshore wind turbine materials. The results of the first phase will be used to conduct a pilot project involving the reuse of blades from an offshore wind turbine, as well as a comparison of repowering and disassembly solutions relative to their overall CO2 footprints. The result will be the development of a number of tools (hence the name, Decom Tools) which will be evaluated in the project’s final phase for integration into guidelines and recommendations for the industry and government, enabling them to provide sustainable processes for offshore wind turbine disassembly and reuse.
Press clip about Decom Tools