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NCC announces Crown Estate Scotland, Owens Corning and TotalEnergies to join SusWIND

The National Composites Centre (NCC, Bristol, U.K.) announces three new members — Crown Estate Scotland (Edinburgh), Owens Corning (Toledo, Ohio, U.S.) and TotalEnergies (Courbevoie, France) — will be joining the SusWIND program. Launched in 2021 by the NCC, in partnership with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, SusWIND seeks to accelerate the development of technology, processes and materials that address the recyclability and future development of composite wind turbine blades.

Owens Corning, a global building and construction materials company and a large supplier of glass fiber composite materials for wind blades, joins as a program board member. Owens Corning provides a voice of the material supplier community in the circular economy value chain of wind turbine blades. Being part of SusWIND will provide the company with access to key material science research and enable collaboration to pursue circular economy opportunities for glass fiber from turbine blades. With blade manufacturers looking to the supply chain to reduce the carbon footprint and improve recyclability, the NCC says this offers the opportunity to embed the outcomes of SusWIND in the manufacture and design of glass fiber systems for wind blades, delivering significant value to the industry. 

“At Owens Corning, sustainability is fundamental to who we are and how we operate,” Wouter De Clercq, managing director Composites Europe Owens Corning, says. “The linear production model — sourcing raw materials, manufacturing products and discarding those products at the end of their use — doesn’t work anymore, for business or humanity. Finding viable, alternative reuses for composite wind blades at the end of their operational lives is a critical part of our journey toward a circular economy, and we look forward to working with our partners in the SusWIND initiative to achieve this together.”

TotalEnergies, a multi-energy company, joins as a program board member as well and adds to the voice of the operator community within SusWIND. TotalEnergies recently announced the rights to develop 2 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity as part of the ScotWind offshore auction, and with an overall pipeline of 5.5 GW, is a key participant in the U.K. offshore wind market. Joining SusWIND will offer TotalEnergies further insight to the environmental impacts of the available end-of-life (EOL) strategies, which should be deployed to deliver the lowest impact when decommissioning turbines. This highlights the need for turbine operators to make data-driven decisions on EOL strategies for existing and future turbine blade fleets — both of which are key outputs of SusWIND.

According to Philippe de Cacqueray, managing director, renewables UK for TotalEnergies, “It’s our ambition to be a world-class player in the energy transition and we’re building our renewables business to generate more energy, with less emissions. That means carefully considering every component of our projects, making the best choices at the very start and then planning for the reuse or recycling of those parts when the time comes. We know that the work to reduce the future impact of our projects must be done now and success will have an impact not just on wind projects in the U.K., but around the world.”

“It is our aim to support the wind industry to strive towards a sustainable future based on circular economy principles.”

Crown Estate Scotland, a public corporation which invests in property, natural resources and people to create lasting value for Scotland, joins as a steering board member. With ScotWind projects totaling up to 27.6 GW in Scottish waters, the need for key sustainability interventions to take place is critical, the NCC notes. Access to SusWIND will provide Crown Estate Scotland with a pathway to collaborate with the wider wind community on decommissioning issues, creating a more sustainable industry. With Crown Estate Scotland joining SusWIND, the program will benefit by being able to increase its collaboration with the offshore wind industry in Scotland.

“Our recent ScotWind leasing round has resulted in an exciting pipeline of offshore wind projects with the potential to make a major contribution to the energy transition,” Ben Miller, development manager, Crown Estate Scotland, emphasizes. “We’re pleased to be joining the SusWind program and contributing to work to ensure the sustainability of the sector.”

The new members join existing industry partners already collaborating in the program including Vestas, SSE Renewables, EDF Renewables, Shell, Net Zero Technology Centre, The Crown Estate, RenewableUK, BVG Associates and Zero Waste Scotland.

“It is our aim to support the wind industry to strive towards a sustainable future based on circular economy principles,” James Lightfoot, senior technology programme manager at the NCC, says. “Turbine asset owners, materials suppliers and blade manufacturers need to understand the lowest impact strategies throughout the full lifecycle of wind turbine blades, from cradle to grave. Within SusWIND we’re working towards quantified recommendations of using alternative materials and circulatory in design to eliminate waste in production, preserve material value through life and remove EOL reclamation challenges.”

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Key findings from the first year of the SusWIND program can be viewed in its first annual review report, and sets out ambitious plans to tackle the main challenges of legacy and future blades. It has also developed a full decommissioning profile of all U.K. blades, forecasting composite waste streams for the next 30 years and enabling partners to make key decisions at blade EOL.

With a call for support and participation across the full range of industrial sectors to grow a community of stakeholders, organizations interested in joining the program can express interest here.

Publication date: 18/11/2022

Composites World (Products)

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31