BladeBridge Testing – Re-Wind Project

A multinational research project entitled “Re-Wind” investigated the use of decommissioned wind turbine blades as girders in bridges.

The issue of end-of-life of wind turbine blades is becoming a significant sustainability concern for wind turbine manufacturers, many of whom have committed to the 2030 or 2040 sustainability goals that include zero-waste for their products.

Repurposing is the most sustainable end-of-life solution for wind turbine blades from an environmental, economic, and social perspective. The Network has designed and constructed two full-size pedestrian/cycle bridges—one on a greenway in Cork, Ireland and the other in a quarry in Draperstown, Northern Ireland, UK. The Queen’s University Belfast structural and technical support staff team has recently led a successful series of structural tests of the blade bridge constructed in the quarry in Draperstown. The bridge was heavily instrumented and monitored by multiple strain gauges, drone videography and digital image correlation. The bridge withstood an incredible 33 tonnes loading with a mid-span deflection of only 9 mm. The testing was also supported by Re-Wind collaborators from Georgia Tech, Munster Technological University and Brunel University. The tests demonstrated the enormous residual strength of end-of-life wind turbine blades and is expected to open up new structural repurposing applications for decommissioned composite material wind turbine blade. This research is based on work supported by the Department of the Economy (DfE) GRANT USI-116; by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) GRANT 16/US/3334; and by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant numbers 1701413 and 1701694.


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Professor Jenny McKinley (Principal Investigator), School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast

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Notes for Editors

Notes for Editors

Taken from the Queen’s University Belfast, School of Natural & Built Environment website. Queen’s University Belfast published this article here on 6 June 2023.

Media: For further info, please contact:

Professor Marios Soutsos
Professor of Structures/Materials
School of Natural and Built Environment

Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4023
Fax: +44 (0)28 9097 4278

PublishedTuesday June 6th, 2023