The 22-year-old turbine blades that have reached end-of-life will be repurposed into furniture for councils, communities and businesses.
Our Sigurd wind turbine is located on Burgar Hill in Orkney – one of the windiest spots in the UK and a test bed for onshore wind in the 1980s. To harness the abundant wind resource, we chose a Class I turbine which is specifically designed to withstand and operate in consistently high and turbulent winds.
After 22 years, you can imagine how productive a life these blades have had – generating over 88 GWh of clean electricity and travelling just over eight million miles in total. That’s the equivalent to making a quarter of a million return journeys from Thrive’s office in Bristol to Sigurd in an electric vehicle!
The blades now need replacing in order to extend the operational life of Sigurd. In some instances, it’s possible to reuse blades when a whole turbine is decommissioned, which is the exercise we undertook when repowering our Caton Moor wind farm in Lancashire. However, when blades are calculated to reach the end of their life, reuse isn’t possible. This raises the question; how can we dispose of the blades in the most sustainable way?
Although the blades from Sigurd can’t be reused for renewable energy generation, they can be repurposed. With the new rotor now fitted at Sigurd and the old blades taken off, we’re pleased to be working with ReBlade to repurpose as much of the blades as possible. They will be turned into useful items for businesses, councils and communities, which could include sustainable bike shelters, EV charging stations, or even bespoke dining tables.
“As we work towards net zero, it’s important for us to take a circular approach with our projects wherever we can. Doing so not only helps to reduce carbon emissions, but supports the development of long term, sustainable supply chains. As one of our first clean energy projects, Sigurd has had a tremendous life so far and replacing the rotor will give the turbine a new lease of life, ensuring it can continue delivering clean electricity to power local homes and businesses. We’re pleased to be teaming up with ReBlade and hope to see more and more asset owners exploring ways to sustainably recycle or repurpose materials when the time comes.” - Adrian Warman, Head of Operations, Thrive Renewables.
Made primarily from fiberglass and other composite materials, wind turbine blades are difficult to recycle. ReBlade is the first UK company to decommission turbine blades without the use of landfill, pioneering innovative approaches to blade handling that enable circular end-destinations for blade waste.
“Located in one of the best sites for wind generation in Europe, the Sigurd turbine blades demonstrate the strength and efficiency of onshore wind. This turbine is arguably one of the most productive in the UK and while the blades have been maintained exceptionally well, after 8 million miles of flight, it’s time for these blades to find a new purpose. We are delighted to be working with Thrive Renewables on designing items that maximise the material reuse of these blades, and we look forward to seeing a new set of blades on Sigurd generate clean energy for decades to come.” – Steven Lindsay, Managing Director, ReBlade.