HS2-VL-21824-wind turbine blade

UK: High Speed 2 civil works contractor Skanska Costain Strabag JV is working with the National Composites Centre to make reinforced concrete using life-expired wind turbine blades instead of steel rebar. HS2 Ltd said this could cut the carbon generated by concrete reinforcement by up to 90%.

The initial pilot project focuses on low-stress structures such as temporary access roads, the top sections of concrete walls and ground bearing plinths for relocated buildings. If successful, this could be followed by a full roll out across Skanska Costain Strabag JV’s section of the route, which covers the London tunnels between the M25 motorway and Euston station.

HS2 Ltd estimates that around 15 000 turbine blades will have been decommissioned across the UK and EU by 2023. The glass fibre reinforced polymer components are difficult to recycle, and until now have either been ground down for use as building materials or incinerated.

‘Reusing old turbine blades reduces waste, cuts demand for new steel and reduces the carbon generated during the production of concrete’, explained HS2 Ltd Innovation Manager Rob Cairns. ‘If our world-first pilot project goes well, we could see a waste product from the energy industry becoming an essential material for the construction sector.’