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How EMR and Solis enabled a building more than a century old, to house a revolutionary recycling process

Joshua Doherty

Offshore wind farm

Using a building more than 100 years old to house a revolutionary recycling facility was never going to be an easy task. However, thanks to a partnership between EMR and Solis Facilities Management, the disused former British Engine Works warehouse in Glasgow, established in 1913, now does just that.

Stationed towards the rear of EMR’s Glasgow South Street site, the warehouse was first built to manufacture marine diesel engines for British Engine Works, a purpose it served for many decades.

In recent years, the famous warehouse - although maintained by EMR - remained largely dormant, but was used in the last decade as an engineering store and cable stripping shed. However, in 2023, it was earmarked to house the company’s quickly developing wind turbine recycling facility.

In order to refurbish the building, making it fit to house a wind turbine reprocessing facility , EMR enlisted the help of Solis Facilities Management, and work began in March 2024.

Over a three-week period, Solis conducted concrete core and structural tests, replaced all rainwater pipes on the exterior of the warehouse, cleaned and painted the warehouse’s internal walls, installed a concrete ramp at the base of the newly secured steel fire door to prevent water damage, and constructed a timber protective unit around the mezzanine distribution board. As a global leader in sustainable materials, it was only right that EMR repurpose as much of the historic site as possible.

In its new life, the warehouse will play home to a wind turbine processing facility, which is helping the Scottish renewables sector become even more green.

Marcus McNeily, managing director of the Solis Group, said: "We always enjoy working with EMR as our core values are aligned, in particular our commitment towards implementing circular economies. We were able to reuse some of the materials from site on other projects such as left over timber and pipe.

“We also carried out a carbon capture report by weighting out the metals that were recycled. We focused on preserving the character of the warehouse while ensuring it meets the high standards required for a wind turbine recycling operation."

He continued: "The project required a delicate balance of restoration and modernisation. Our team conducted extensive structural tests and made essential upgrades to safeguard the facility's future. We're proud of the outcome and the role we played in supporting EMR's innovative recycling efforts."

John McPhail, EMR’s Energy Infrastructure Project Manager., said: "We are thrilled to see this iconic warehouse repurposed for such a groundbreaking initiative. This facility not only supports our commitment to renewable energy, but also preserves a piece of Glasgow's industrial heritage. By converting this space, we are able to maintain a connection to the past while contributing to a sustainable future."

He added: "The preservation of original features, highlights our dedication to honouring the history of the site. This project makes a significant step in advancing the circular economy in the renewables sector, and we look forward to the positive impact it will have on the environment and the local community."