Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Turning Discarded Wind Turbine Blades Into Pedestrian Bridges Focus of New Project Involving ESB and Cork-based Start Up

31st January 2024
Angie Nagle, BladeBridge, and Donal Phelan, ESB, at the 2050 Sustainability Accelerator Showcase Event, September 2023
Angie Nagle, BladeBridge, and Donal Phelan, ESB, at the 2050 Sustainability Accelerator Showcase Event, September 2023

Repurposing decommissioned wind turbine blades into pedestrian bridges and e-bike charging stations is the focus of a new collaboration between the ESB and a Cork-based company.

BladeBridge, a start-up specialising in wind turbine blade repurposing, is working with the ESB to identify new ways to use old wind turbine blades.

The companies say that as part of the collaboration, a “mutually beneficial pilot” has been developed that will see the construction of a brand-new e-mobility hub.

They say the project will “support the circular economy and align with ESB’s goal of net zero by 2040 through three key objectives; decarbonising energy, building resilient infrastructure, and empowering customers to live more sustainably”.

ESB Group head of innovation Donal Phelan said the company’s “expertise in understanding the civic environment, safety and electrical standards, and engineering and design capabilities, together with BladeBridge's expertise in blade reverse engineering for repurposing, are what make this project possible”.

BladeBridge chief executive officer Dr Angie Nagle said that wind turbines have a 25-year lifespan, and the blade is the only part of the turbine that is not commercially recyclable – which poses a huge problem for wind farm owners.

“ Once decommissioned, these blades still have a lot of life left in them, as they are crafted from composite materials that withstand massive forces and extreme weather conditions,” she explained.

“Current methods of disposal include sending turbine blades to landfill, which will be banned in Europe by 2025. In collaboration with ESB Group, we will repurpose decommissioned wind turbine blades into sustainable infrastructure with the construction of a new e-mobility hub,”she said. Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven't put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full-time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

About Marine Technology

Marine technology, as defined by the European association WEGEMT, refers to the use of technology for ensuring the safe use, exploitation, protection of, and intervention in, the marine environment. This includes a wide range of technologies that support naval architecture, marine engineering, ship design, ship building, and ship operations.

In addition to these foundational technologies, marine technology also encompasses oil and gas exploration, exploitation, and production, hydrodynamics, navigation, sea surface and sub-surface support, underwater technology and engineering, marine resources (including both renewable and non-renewable marine resources), transport logistics and economics, inland, coastal, short sea and deep sea shipping, protection of the marine environment, and leisure and safety.

The importance of marine technology cannot be overstated. With over 70% of the earth's surface covered by water, the marine environment plays a critical role in our lives. From transportation to energy production, marine technology enables us to harness the immense potential of the oceans while minimizing the impact on the environment.

Moreover, the development of marine technology is crucial for the sustainable use of marine resources. As the demand for seafood and other marine products continues to grow, the sustainable management of these resources becomes increasingly important. Marine technology can help us to achieve this by providing innovative solutions for sustainable fishing, aquaculture, and other forms of marine resource management.

In Ireland, claims are made that the island country "has the potential to be the “Silicon Valley” of the aquatech world". Ireland is at a very exciting stage when it comes to aquatech. There are currently 62 aquatech companies operating here, all using technology to enable sustainable seafood farming at a time when the sector is facing many challenges.”

Ireland’s growing expertise in the developing aquatech sector means it has the potential to become a global leader in the field, with Irish aquatech companies turning over €200m last year.

Over €15m has been invested in aquatic businesses, and over 200 high-tech jobs have been created in the sector over the last six years.

In conclusion, marine technology is a vast and rapidly evolving field encompassing a broad range of technologies and applications. As we continue to explore and exploit the potential of the oceans, marine technology will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the safe and sustainable use of these resources.