Wind turbine in the back light
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Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy announced Tuesday that it had launched a recyclable wind turbine blade, a move that is the latest example of how the industry is trying to find ways to reuse materials.
In a statement, the Spanish-German engineering company claimed its RecyclableBlades were “the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades ready for commercial use at sea”.
Siemens Gamesa said it will work with German utility RWE to install and pilot the rotor blades at the Kaskasi offshore wind farm in the German North Sea, which is expected to go into commercial operation in 2022.
The company, of which Siemens Energy is the majority shareholder, said it was also working with EDF Renewables on the goal of using “multiple sets” of the rotor blades “in a future offshore wind farm”.
A similar collaboration exists with wpd, a company with German headquarters that develops and operates wind farms.
The industry is worried about what to do with wind turbine rotor blades when they are no longer needed. This is because the composite materials that the blades are made from can prove difficult to recycle, which means many end up in landfills at the end of their lifespan.
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As governments around the world try to expand their renewable energy capacities, the number of wind turbines around the world is expected to continue to grow, which in turn will put pressure on the sector to find sustainable solutions for the disposal of rotor blades.
According to Siemens Gamesa, its recyclable blades use a new type of resin that “allows the resin to be efficiently separated from the other components at the end of the life of the blade”.
The company said this “mild” process “protects the properties of the materials in the rotor blade, unlike other existing ways of recycling conventional wind turbine blades. The materials can then be reused in new applications after separation.” “
In recent years, a number of major wind energy players have announced plans to address the problem of wind turbine blades.
In June, Danish company Orsted said it would “reuse, recycle or recover” any turbine blades in its global portfolio of wind farms after the decommissioning.
That same month, General Electric’s renewable energy division and cement maker Holcim signed an agreement to investigate the recycling of wind turbine blades.
Back in April, it was announced that science-industry collaboration would focus on recycling fiberglass products, a move that could eventually help reduce wind turbine blade waste.
Last December, GE Renewable Energy and Veolia North America signed a “multi-year agreement” to recycle blades removed from onshore wind turbines in the United States.
And in January 2020 Vestas, another wind energy giant, announced that it wanted to produce zero-waste turbines by 2040.