|becoming one of the most economic renewable energy sources.
Wind turbines are expected to have an operational life of approximately 20 to 25 years. Therefore, now and mainly in the coming years, the first generations of wind turbines (WT) will be reaching the end of their service life or they will be replaced by more efficient models. In this sense, a very important environmental issue is how to deal with end-of-life turbines, and especially with rotor blades, as they are complex and resistant structures made of fibre reinforced composites. Nowadays, disposal on landfills and incineration are their most expected destinies, and therefore more sustainable solutions are needed.
As part of the LIFE BRIO Project, IBERDROLA Engineering has already reviewed some worldwide existing procedures and guidelines related to the decommissioning of onshore wind turbines, as well as two Scottish Power Wind farm repowering project.
Now on, IBERDROLA Engineering will develop, as a specific output of the Project, a proposal of best practices guidelines for onshore wind turbines decommissioning, and policy and legislative recommendations to the European Commission on wind turbine waste management.
The impact of the Project will be evaluated by means of carrying out a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Traditionally, environmental LCAs of wind turbines had only considered the materials extraction and its processing, the manufacturing and the usage phase, without taking into account in detail the end-of service life management. This is a key issue, and LIFE BRIO Project will deal with it including a LCA for the recycling process.
LIFE BRIO has received funding from the European Union’s Life program under grant agreement LIFE13 ENV/ES/000562.