Structural reuse of high end composite products: A design case study on wind turbine blades

Jelle Joustra*, Bas Flipsen, Ruud Balkenende

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Composite materials, in particular fibre reinforced polymers, present a challenge when reaching their end of life. Current recycling processes are unable to capture the high-end material quality, thus challenging (re)use of composite materials in a Circular Economy. Structurally reusing segmented parts of end-of-life products as construction elements has been demonstrated to provide a promising alternative. However, reflection on the consequences for the initial design of composite products is still missing. This study investigates the effect of the original product design on the recovery and reuse of composite products, taking wind turbine blades as case material. Construction elements were cut from a decommissioned blade and reused in a design study. Observations from the recovery and design process were connected to decisions made in the original product design. The insights were discussed with experts from the field of blade design. This resulted in identification of design aspects that enable multiple lifecycles of the composite material as construction panels, if considered during initial product design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105393
Number of pages10
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Circular economy
  • Composite materials
  • Design strategies
  • Structural reuse
  • Wind turbine blades


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