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« PALES À MODELER » : IN SEARCH OF A SECOND LIFE FOR WIND TURBINE BLADES

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Published on 03/28/2022

How to give a second life to wind turbine blades after they have been dismantled? La Casemate, Gaz Électricité de Grenoble and students from the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble have been thinking about this question and from Monday 28 March to Friday 1 April they are organising an exhibition and a mini-hackaton to take action.

It is a challenge for the years to come: to imagine a second life for the blades of wind turbines, these monsters of 20 to 60 metres in length on average. The first wind turbines installed on an industrial scale since the beginning of the 21st century are gradually reaching the end of their life. Within 10 years, many of them will be taken off the grid.

What is left when a wind turbine is dismantled? 93-98% steel (used for the mast) and concrete (base and foundation), which are fully recyclable. The remaining 2-7% are the blades of the wind turbines. They are made of composite materials (glass fibre, carbon fibre, resin, etc.) which have the advantage of being light and resistant, but are also much more difficult to process.

Recycling solutions (mechanical, thermal, chemical) and reuse do exist, however. They need to be developed industrially. In Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where these projects have already been under study for several years, you can sometimes find slides or bus shelters made from wind turbine blades.

As part of the Grenoble Green Capital of Europe energy month, Gaz Électricité de Grenoble, La Casemate and the Grenoble National School of Architecture are proposing a week of joint reflection on the challenges of reusing wind turbine blades, financed with the support of the Grenoble Green Capital of Europe's Green Helping Hand fund.

Two highlights:
An exhibition, from Monday 28 March to 1 April, at La Casemate: to imagine what the second life of wind turbine blades could be like, students from the Master 1 "Design, Resilience, Living" at Ensag-UGA are exhibiting design proposals, from the most dreamlike to the most concrete.
And to transform these concepts into business model seeds, all brains are invited to participate in a two-day mini hackathon. Elected officials, researchers, students and experts from all walks of life are welcome to take part in this creative sprint to find viable ways of reusing wind turbine blades.

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