EoLO-HUBs | Wind turbine blades End of Life through Open HUBs for circular materials in sustainable business models

Recycling strategy for wind turbine blades

Europe is a global leader in wind power technology, with over 70% of all installed wind energy in the world. It supplies nearly 14% of the EU's electricity and is the second largest power source. However, the rapid growth of wind energy since the 1990s has created an environmental issue. Many wind farms have reached the end of their lifespan, leading to the disposal of wind turbines in landfills or through incineration.

In the years to come, the industry will face the challenge of dismantling tens of thousands of wind turbines, resulting in over 60,000 tons of waste. The EoLO-HUBs project, with nearly 10 million euros in EU funding, aims to address this issue by developing advanced recycling technologies to recover valuable composite materials from wind turbine blades.

Sustainable technologies to recycle wind farms

Wind turbines are mainly made of thermoset composites including various materials, such as wood, metals, adhesives and coatings. The recycling of the End-of-Life (EoL) composite is difficult due to the heterogeneous nature of the fibre-reinforced polymers and the strong adhesion between the fibres and the polymer matrix. This often leads to a "downgrading" effect, where the recycled material is only suitable for low-quality applications. As a result, most of this waste is currently either landfilled or incinerated. To prevent this, new technology must be created or adapted to reuse or recycle the valuable materials from a wind rotor blade as efficiently as possible.

Therefore, the EoLO-HUBs project addresses and advances the following areas of development:

  1. Innovative process to optimize wind turbine blade disassembly, including advanced software and tools that will facilitate the identification and separation of the different components of the blade when it comes to be treated.
  2. Further development of two sustainable fiber matrix separation methods: low carbon pyrolysis and green chemistry solvolysis, for the recovery of glass and carbon fibers.
  3. Cutting-edge treatment processes: Improvement of the properties of recovered fibers to enable them to be used as new raw materials in a second life cycle in the automotive, construction and wind energy sectors.

In addition, a digital platform will be created to facilitate effective knowledge exchange among the hubs involved in the EoLO project. Two of these hubs will integrate the entire process of decommissioning, recycling, and recovery of wind farms in two separate value chains. The third hub will connect the progress of the EoLO-HUBs with both society and industry. Furthermore, this platform will serve as a space to formalize business agreements based on the principles of the circular economy, which will aid in replicating the EoLO model beyond the pilot phase.

EoLO-HUBs Consortium

EoLO-HUBs is a project funded by the European Union, within the Horizon Europe Program, with a total budget of 9.99 million euros for 4 years of implementation. The project is coordinated by AITIIP, and involves 18 European partners from 7 countries.

  • ECHT Regie in Transitie B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Nordex Energy GmhH (Germany)
  • Moses Productos SL (Spain)
  • Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials GmbH (Germany)
  • Teruel Airport (Spain)
  • Advantis APS (Denmark)
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V. (Fraunhofer Society, Germany)
  • Jansen Recycling Group B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Mondragon Goi Eskola Politeknikoa Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta S Coop (MGEP, Spain)
  • Saint-Gobain Placo Iberica SA (Spain)
  • Global Equity & Corporate Consulting SL (Spain)
  • TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research and its joint innovation center Brightlands Materials Center (Netherlands)
  • Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA (Italy)
  • Polymeris (France)
  • National Composites Centre (NCC, U.K.)
  • University of Leeds (U.K.)
  • The Manufacturing Technology Centre Ltd. (MTC, U.K.)

Recycling of glass fibers and further development of wetlaid nonwoven production

Fraunhofer IGCV is leading the work package in which various recycling technologies are being developed and evaluated in the EolO-HUBs project. Within the scope of the project, the institute will primarily take a closer look at the shredding and sorting of wind turbine blades. In addition, Fraunhofer IGCV is evaluating the recycling of glass fibers and carrying out various pyrolysis studies for this purpose. After the fiber-matrix separation, a pilot wetlaid plant will be used to further process the recovered glass and carbon fibers into homogeneous wetlaid nonwovens.

Further interesting reference projects on this topic


MAI Scrap SeRO

Highly oriented wetlaid nonwovens made from recycled carbon fibers - from waste to secondary raw material



Circular product design for automotive components made from recycled and sustainable composite material.

  • Cider (igcv.fraunhofer.de)


Economic, technical and life cycle assessment of recycled carbon fibers in industrial processes.



Greenhouse gas reduction through high-quality recycling processes and materials


MAI Carbon »CaRinA«

»CaRinA« Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).



Innovative non-destructive method for in-line characterization and quality assurance of discontinuous recycled carbon fiber semi-finished products.

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IGCV

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Industry solutions

The key sectors of Fraunhofer IGCV:

  • Mechanical and plant engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive and commercial vehicles


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