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Energies 2016, 9(12), 999; doi:10.3390/en9120999

Wind Turbines’ End-of-Life: Quantification and Characterisation of Future Waste Materials on a National Level

1
Energi Funktion Komfort Skandinavien AB, Smedjegatan 6, SE-131 54 Nacka, Sweden
2
Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Gävle, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, SE-801 76 Gävle, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Xidong Wang
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 26 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Waste Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2496 KB, uploaded 26 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

Globally, wind power is growing fast and in Sweden alone more than 3000 turbines have been installed since the mid-1990s. Although the number of decommissioned turbines so far is few, the high installation rate suggests that a similarly high decommissioning rate can be expected at some point in the future. If the waste material from these turbines is not handled sustainably the whole concept of wind power as a clean energy alternative is challenged. This study presents a generally applicable method and quantification based on statistics of the waste amounts from wind turbines in Sweden. The expected annual mean growth is 12% until 2026, followed by a mean increase of 41% until 2034. By then, annual waste amounts are estimated to 240,000 tonnes steel and iron (16% of currently recycled materials), 2300 tonnes aluminium (4%), 3300 tonnes copper (5%), 340 tonnes electronics (<1%) and 28,000 tonnes blade materials (barely recycled today). Three studied scenarios suggest that a well-functioning market for re-use may postpone the effects of these waste amounts until improved recycling systems are in place. View Full-Text
Keywords: wind turbine; end-of-life; waste; materials; recycling; steel; iron; copper; electronics; plastic; composites; decommission; Sweden wind turbine; end-of-life; waste; materials; recycling; steel; iron; copper; electronics; plastic; composites; decommission; Sweden
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Andersen, N.; Eriksson, O.; Hillman, K.; Wallhagen, M. Wind Turbines’ End-of-Life: Quantification and Characterisation of Future Waste Materials on a National Level. Energies 2016, 9, 999.

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