With an average lifespan of 20-25 years, many of the world’s offshore wind turbines installed during the 1990s and early 2000s, are now reaching the end of their life expectancy. This raises the question of what happens to them next?
We estimate that by 2050, the global industry will need to decommission as much as 85GW of offshore wind capacity, and 1,200GW of onshore wind capacity. While these figures do not take into account innovation (assuming 25-year lifecycles will continue to be the norm), they provide an idea of the scale of the circular economy opportunity.
Within two years, we will see 16,000 offshore wind blades being decommissioned, and without changes to core materials, that will reach 325,000 by mid-century. This brings us to the golden supply chain opportunity for the next decade: a spin-off circular economy from the wind sector that would create thousands of new jobs.
ORE Catapult offers technology innovation and business growth support to promising UK companies that are looking to leverage this exciting future market.
This analytical paper by ORE Catapult’s Angeliki Spyroudi compares five end-of-life scenarios for offshore wind turbines and provides a cost-benefit analysis of each. Read it here >
Senior Strategy Analyst, Angeliki Spyroudi, analyses the carbon implications of end-of-use management after decommissioning of offshore wind farms. Read it here >
Published as part of the Energy Transition Alliance between ORE Catapult and the OGTC, the report calls for increased investment and a radical shift in research and development into wind turbine blade recycling. It cites the huge economic opportunities for the UK supply chain from a circular economy approach in offshore wind that could extend the sector’s UK job creation targets by 30%, creating an extra 20,000 jobs. Read it here >
Chris Hill, Operational Performance Director, explores the role a circular economy could play in the offshore wind sector in his latest blog. He suggests a circular economy goes far beyond just recycling as there is the lifetime extension of components (through refurbishment, for example), reuse and remanufacturing, as well as designing out waste and tough-to-recycle materials from the start. Read it here >
Dr Anne Velenturf, Research Impact Fellow in Circular Economy and Offshore Wind at the University of Leeds and leading research for ORE Catapult’s Circular Economy in the Wind Sector programme discusses the opportunities that exist within the wind sector when adopting a circular economy approach. Read it here >
Following on from a circular economy in wind workshop, where Dr Anne Velenturf of the University of Leeds was joined by a panel of our experts to introduce some circular economy initiatives, we’ve written a blog to provide you with some of the highlights and presentations from the workshop. Read it here >
Re-Energise Podcast: Circular Economy in the Offshore Wind Industry
In this episode, we hear from experts who are working on circular economy projects that look to improve best practices and procedures that are currently in place to ensure these green energy producers remain as green in their end of life. Listen here >
Re-Energise Podcast: My Industry, Your Industry – Sustainability
In this episode, we revisit the topic of a circular economy – this time widening the focus to bring in experience and views from other industries. Helping us disentangle topics like composite recycling, the more sustainable materials of the future and lifetime extension of industrial assets are two leading experts in sustainability from the Catapult network. Listen here >
Technology innovation and business development support is available through a number of programmes led by ORE Catapult, including the Circular Economy in the Wind Sector JIP.
Contact: CIRCULAR@ore.catapult.org.uk for more information on how these programmes could support your business.