Circular economy business models and technology management strategies in the wind industry: Sustainability potential, industrial challenges and opportunities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Circular business models, aimed at narrowing, slowing, and closing resource loops, can potentially generate significant economic and social benefits, promote resource security and improve environmental performance. However, within the wind power industry, sustainability research, including life cycle assessments, has been focused mostly on technology innovation at the material (e.g. permanent magnets), components (e.g. blades) or product level (e.g. new assets). Research analysing the implementation of circular business models in the wind industry is scarce. Such information could, however, support more robust decision-making in the development of system-level innovations for the deployment of more resource-efficient and sustainable wind energy infrastructure. Building upon practical methods for the identification, categorisation and characterisation of business models, 14 circular business models with application to the wind industry were comprehensively evaluated through the revision of 125 documents, including 56 journal papers, 46 industrial business cases and 23 wind technology management reports. Each circular business model is examined according to i) business offering and drivers, ii) value creation, delivery and capture mechanisms, iii) sustainability benefits and trade-offs, and iv) industrial challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, comprehensive guidelines to drive political (legislation design and implementation), industrial (technology and business innovation) and academic (further research) actions, are provided. Though the results are focussed on the wind industry, the general findings and recommendations are relevant across the renewable and low-carbon energy sector.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112523
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date9 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022