Business opportunities for metals sector in offshore wind

Wednesday 14th September 2022

Theatre :  Technology, Innovation and R&D 

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Offshore wind is set to grow from 10.4GW in 2021 to over 40GW by 2030. With a designed lifetime of 20-25 years, the first turbines are also starting to be decommissioned. Both the manufacturing of components and the end of use management offer novel business opportunities for the metal sector.

Offshore wind turbine components consist for ca. 2/3 out of metals such as steel, iron, copper, aluminium and a smaller proportion of rare earth elements, with the remainder primarily concrete and glass fibre composites. Annual material input is forecast to rise from ca. 0.5 Mt in 2020 to 2 Mt in 2030 and, after a dip to 1.4 Mt in 2040, to peak around 3 Mt in 2055. In total 18 Mt of materials will have accumulated in offshore wind by 2030, steadily growing to 60 Mt by 2055 – roughly 40 Mt of metals.

While there is a high potential for metal sector business development, involvement of UK companies is currently below expectations. This session will introduce circular economy as a way for the UK metals sector to strategically grow market share in offshore wind.

Anne VelenturfAnne Velenturf Senior Research Fellow in Circular Economy
University of Leeds

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