Inspenet, November 3, 2023.
Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland is carrying out the ‘BladeBridges’ project, which focuses on creating prefabricated bridges using end-of-life wind turbine blades. This innovative approach seeks not only to offer a sustainable solution for the management of obsolete wind turbines, but also to reduce the environmental impact of wind farms.
The main objective of the project is the construction of bridges composed of two wind turbine blades, with specific applications in industrial and agricultural environments. Additionally, it seeks to explore other ways to reuse these dismantled blades and establish partnerships to address challenges in an ever-changing world.
Maximum use of wind turbine blades
The initial challenge for Queen’s University was to convert wind turbine blades into practical items without compromising their structural integrity by supporting additional weight. However, the team managed to develop a bridge that withstood the load of 34 blocks of 1,100 kilograms each, surprisingly demonstrating its ability to support weight.
This project has significant potential to contribute to the improvement of the environment and set a milestone in waste reduction, as it offers an ingenious solution to address current environmental challenges. Although the full implementation of these mega-constructions will require time and a sufficient supply of wind turbine blades, the university’s initiative in Northern Ireland is set to mark a significant change in waste reduction and mitigation of environmental impact.
Currently, two bridges have been built using wind turbine blades. The first, with a length of seven meters, is located in Draperstown (Northern Ireland), while the second, five meters long, is located in Cork (Ireland). Both structures have the capacity to resist loads of up to 30 tons.
In addition to these uses, researchers involved in the BladeBridges project intend to use these blades to create street furniture, design telecommunications towers, and manufacture bus stops. The future could see our environment built with wind turbine blades.
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