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Challenge Recycle and Reuse of Wind Turbine Blades

Recycle and Reuse of Wind Turbine Blades

STATUS: Awarded
Posted: Dec 13 2018
Challenge ID: 9934143
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Enel Green Power (EGP) is looking for the best available methods to recycle and/or reuse the materials the wind turbine blades, in order to be more and more sustainable, under a circular economy perspective.

This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.


The wind energy market has experienced an exponential growth in the last few decades, with thousands of wind turbines having been installed every year worldwide.  Predictions indicate that the trend will go on for many more years, keeping wind energy at the forefront of renewable energy generation worldwide and helping the world to have safe, reliable, sustainable and cheap energy.

The average useful life of wind turbines is about 20 years. After this period, the mechanical and structural properties of the turbines decay and refurbishments in some cases might be necessary to extend their lifetime for a few more years, while in other cases, the wind turbines are dismantled. Whereas the biggest portion of wind turbine components are quite easy to recycle and reuse (i.e. metal parts), there is a small non-metallic portion of components that is less easy to recycle or reuse, namely the blades of the wind turbines. These are mostly made of composite materials (typically glass/carbon fibres + epoxy matrix), plus some other minor components/materials (e.g. glue and gelcoat), making this task particularly challenging.

As the first generations of wind turbine technology approach the end-of-life and must be dismantled, the need to find adequate methods to recycle and reuse the blades (and its components) gains increasing relevance and importance. Hence, Enel Green Power (EGP) is looking for the best available methods to recycle and/or reuse the materials the wind turbine blades, in order to be more and more sustainable, under a circular economy perspective.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
  • SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production.
  • SDG 13 – Climate action

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker.

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on February 17, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered.


With a presence in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, Enel Green Power is a global leader of the clean energy sector*,with an annual production of approximately 100 TWh**. Enel Green Power operates in 30 countries and has a managed capacity of over 40.9 GW (including over 38 GW of installed capacity); with more than 1,200 plants (over 100 of which are consolidated) and a mix of generation types including the main renewable sources: wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal, an additional 7.8 GW of extra capacity is scheduled to be built by 2020.

Technological and geographical diversification are the main pillars of the Company’s strategy, which focuses its investments in growing markets characterised by an excellent availability of natural resources, high growth rates of the energy demand and stable social and economic environments. Enel Green Power has integrated sustainability into its strategic vision, with the objective of increasing the benefits for the local communities in which the company operates. Switching from a reactive approach to criticism, to more proactive, aimed at identifying opportunities for Creating Shared Value within local communities. Enel Green Power believes that the renewable energies are an important tool for promoting the competitiveness of the production system of the countries and for guaranteeing the security of the energy supply: indeed, energy production from green sources contributes to creating greater energy autonomy and, at the same time, it helps protect the environment.

* In terms of installed capacity of private operators. ** Data at December 2018.


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