Postdoc opportunity – sustainable models for the reuse of wind turbine blades

We are seeking a postdoctoral research assistant to work on a new project, jointly funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the National Science Foundation of the USA, and the Department of Enterprise and Learning (Northern Ireland).

With many wind turbines in Ireland approaching the end of their service lives, the issue of the  fate of composite wind turbine blades is coming to the fore.  Composite materials are not easily recycled, therefore such blades are typically landfilled, incinerated or set aside when turbines reach the end of their service lives.

The postdoc will develop a methodology for engaging communities and other key stakeholders in decisions regarding novel re-uses of end-of-life (EOL) wind turbine blades. The aim of the methodology will be to devise sustainability models, including in-depth conceptualisation of the monetary and non-monetary value generation arising from various reuse alternatives, thus increasing the confidence of investors and other key stakeholders. Such business models will include collaborative approaches where the researchers work with identified stakeholder organizations.

A systematic framework for performing an inclusive life cycle assessment (LCA) on the commercial software platform, SimaPro, using life–cycle inventories (LCIs) fromEcoInvent and NREL, and Life–Cycle–Impact–Assessment (LCIA) criteria (e.g., the EPA’s TRACI 2.0) will be created and tested in the Irish context. This will be used not only to determine sustainable options (environmentally, economically, and socially) for reuse of FRP blades but also to optimize the parameters to maximize sustainability. Methods and tools for the co-creation of viable, sustainable and community enhancing business models for the reuse of EOL wind turbine blades will be established.

The post duration is 12 months from 1st April 2018.

For further details please contact Paul Leahy, paul.leahy@ucc.ie.

The official vacancy is published, with details of how to apply, on UCC’s Academic Vacancies site.