Friday, February 11, 2022

Engineers are building pedestrian bridges with recycled wind turbine blades in County Cork, Ireland and on the Szprotawa River in Poland

On a former train track bed connecting the towns of Midleton and Youghal in County Cork, Ireland, workers recently excavated the rusted remains of an old railway bridge and installed a pedestrian one in its place. The bridge would have been an unremarkable milestone in the development of a new pedestrian greenway through the Irish countryside, if not for what it’s made of: recycled wind turbine blades.
That makes it just the second “blade bridge” in the world. The first, installed last October in a small town in western Poland, officially opened in early January. The engineers and entrepreneurs behind these bridges are hopeful they represent the beginning of a new trend: repurposing old wind turbine blades for infrastructure projects.

It keeps them out of landfills

Repurposing the blades in this way is said to serve as an alternative to either burying decommissioned blades or disposing of them using expensive or energy-consuming processes. This solution, Anmet says, gives blades a second life and avoids the raw material consumption and emissions related to production of new construction materials.

wind blades often have decades of life left in them after a turbine is decommissioned. And the same material properties that make blades good at harnessing wind power — strength, lightweightness, and all-weather durability — also make them attractive as engineering support structures.

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