Structural Re-use of FRP Composite Wind Turbine Blades as Power-Line Utility Poles and Towers

Alshannaq A., Bank L. C., Scott D., Pye J., Bermek M., Gentry R.

10th International Conference on Fibre-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Composites in Civil Engineering (CICE), İstanbul, Turkey, 8 - 10 December 2021, vol.198, pp.121-130 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 198
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/978-3-030-88166-5_10
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.121-130
  • Keywords: Wind turbine blades, Recycling of composites, Adaptive re-use, Compression testing
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


The production of wind energy worldwide has increased 20-fold since 2001. Composite material wind turbine blades are beginning to come out of service in large numbers. In general, these de-commissioned structures, composed primarily of glass fibers in a thermoset matrix and generally between 13 and 80 m long, are demolished and either landfilled or incinerated. This research seeks to establish structural re-use applications for wind turbine blades in civil engineering infrastructure. This paper presents design concepts along with materials and engineering analysis for high voltage electricity transmission structures made from re-used wind turbine blades. This re-use application targets wind blades in the 25 to 50-m overall length range, with single blades considered for use as cantilevered poles, and multiple blades used as replacements for waist-type truss or guyed towers. Strengths of the composite materials are established from coupons cut from de-commissioned wind blades - and section properties are established from blade geometries acquired using LiDAR scanning, through proprietary algorithms developed as part of the research effort. The section analysis is based on two common commercially available blades in the European and U.S. markets: the Vestas V52 and the Clipper C96. The paper reports on preliminary strength design allowables for the typical wind blade laminates and uses these as the basis for design under gravity, wind, and ice loading. Preliminary design of connections and physical mockup testing of these connections are presented.