From wind turbines to bicycle garages

A wind turbine blade that has been repurposed as a bicycle garage
Image: Siemens Gamesa

In Denmark, wind turbine recycling has literally hit the streets, with non-biodegradable blades being repurposed as bicycle garages.

Wind energy already provides 40 per cent of the country’s energy, with the government aiming to reach 70 per cent by 2030.

Given the 20-year lifespan of non-biodegradable blades in current wind turbines, many will need to be disposed of in the near future. The Danish Government has assigned the recycling task to several companies, many of which have come up with ingenious plans for repurposing the gigantic metal structures.

The Re-wind Project is one of the teams selected, and aims to transform wind turbines into bicycle garages or footbridges, according to designboom.com.

Related article: Bizarre-looking wind turbine generates five times more energy than its peers

The Re-wind Project is investigating alternatives to unsustainable wind turbine disposal methods, such as landfill and incineration. So far, most old wind turbines have been ending up in landfills, however, these landfills may are reaching capacity.

The network explores the blades’ potential reuse in architectural and engineering structures, by proposing their reuse as protective bike shelters or pedestrian bridges. One of these two ideas has already been implemented in the port of Aalborg, Denmark, where one can find an unusual bicycle garage made from actual wind turbines that were once in use.

The Re-wind Project team has also turned its attention to Ireland, where the Cork Institute of Technology is currently working on recycling three wind turbines from a Belfast wind farm that were discarded at the end of 2020.

Several proposals have been considered, with testing underway, but if they are successful, the blades of the wind turbines could be reused in skate parks, stadium bleachers or as sound barriers.