Wind turbines that are being renewed or have reached the end of their useful life are difficult to recycle or reuse. The Re-Wind Network is working on the reuse of discarded blades – for example in the form of a bridge. In Ireland, a pedestrian bridge made from former rotor blades has already been successfully installed. Specifically, the bridge consists of two reused LM 13.4 wind blades from Nordex N29 turbines donated by Everun Ltd. The footbridge, which has a span of approximately five metres, sits on a former rail bed connecting the towns of Midleton and Youghal in County Cork and forms part of a pedestrian route through the Irish countryside. A first such “leaf bridge” had been erected in a small town in western Poland in October last year. And according to a report in the Austrian Kurier, corresponding projects are also being developed in Burgenland.
The extremely robust, fibre-reinforced plastics that wind turbine blades are made of are difficult to dispose of in landfills, if only because of their sheer size. The alternative of incinerating them also creates additional pollution for the environment. This makes their use in bridge construction a creative solution. All the more so because the rotor blades also have a long service life as bridge parts due to their strength, low weight and weather resistance. The team behind the new Irish blade bridge believes that the design can also compete with conventional bridges in terms of cost.
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