On 20 November, EBI had the pleasure of participating in the End-of-Life Issues and Strategies conference organised by WindEurope, the voice of the wind energy industry in Europe. As part of the panel “Wind turbines’ sustainability and circularity”, EBI Secretary-General Philip Easthill delivered a presentation where he explained the current state of circularity in the recreational boating industry and what steps are needed to make the industry more circular.
The main materials used in boat construction is fibre-reinforced polymers. These materials, also used in wind turbine blades as well as in other industries, make for a resistant and light material. Nonetheless, there are certain drawbacks associated with it: Firstly, because of its structure, it is very hard to recycle, which is why the development of alternative, more recyclable materials is among the industry’s mid-, to long-term objectives. Secondly, although there are several options for its reuse, the infrastructure for recycling of dismantled boats and other composite waste remains underdeveloped. That is why the boating industry wants to work with other sectors such as the wind industry in order to maximise the volume of composite plastic waste that is disposed of in a useful way. Another aspect raised by Philip Easthill was the key role of the EU, through funding for research and innovation funding and for dismantling and recycling schemes, as well as through the EU roadmap on end-of-life boats being developed by EBI and the European Commission.
The panel, which was chaired by LM Wind Power’s Hanif Mashal, also counted the participation of Marylise Schmid (WindEurope), Anne Velenturf (University of Leeds), Bruce Valpy (BVG Associates) and Gaurav Sharma (Schneider Electric).