Wind energy has been considered as one of the greenest renewable energy
sources over the last two decades. However, attention is turning to reducing the possible environmental impacts from this sector. We argue that wind energy would not be effectively ‘‘green” if anthropogenic materials are not given attention in a responsible manner. Using the concept of the circular economy, this paper considers how anthropogenic materials in the form of carbon fibers can reenter the circular economy system at the highest possible quality.b This paper first investigates the viability of a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer extraction process using thermal pyrolysis to recalibrate the maximum carbon fiber value by examining the effect of (a) heating rate, (b) temperature, and (c) inert gas flow rate on char yield. With cleaner and higher quality recovered carbon fibers, this paper discusses the economic preconditions for the takeoff and growth of the industry and recommends the reuse of extracted carbon fibers to close the circular economy loop.


Professor Adrian T. H. Kuah has investigated circular economy practices in Asia, measured perceptions toward remanufactured goods in the UK, examined photovoltaic tax incentives in China, and provided insights on material circular economy using composite recovery. In 2019, he was appointed by the Government to partake and represent Singapore’s interest in the standardization of ISO/TC 323 Circular Economy at the ISO. For his thought leadership, he was interviewed by leading newspapers such as the Financial Times, Straits Times, Cairns Post and Xinhua News, as well as by media such as the Australian WIN TV News. He has received a couple of citations, including Financial Times Professor of the Week (2013) and Oxford Scholarship (2014). He is a research leader at both The Cairns Institute, Australia and Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia, Singapore. He is also Professor at Ecole de Commerce de Tahiti in the French Polynesia. He received his Ph.D from the University of Manchester, ITP from SDA Bocconi, MBA from University of Strathclyde, and B.Eng from the Nanyang Technological University.