Renewables

Siemens Gamesa produces world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades

Siemens Gamesa world first recyclable wind turbine blades

Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Published

September 8, 2021

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Published:

September 8, 2021

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Siemens Gamesa will equip RWE’s offshore wind park Kaskasi with turbines that have recyclable blades as it developed a resin that can be separated upon decommissioning.

The world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades are ready for commercial use offshore. Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy produced them in its factory in Aalborg in Denmark and agreed with RWE to deploy them at the German company’s Kaskasi unit in the North Sea.

The offshore wind power plant is scheduled to come online next year and the performances of the turbines with blades made with a new kind of resin will be monitored, the announcement reads. Blades are made from a combination of materials cast together with resin to form a strong and flexible lightweight structure. The new technology allows the resin to be dissolved in a heated, mildly acidic solution, and separated for further use, and the remaining materials can be recovered.

Landfilling takes up space, wastes material

The first six recyclable blades are 81 meters long. Made of fiberglass, they are the most difficult part of the turbine to be given a second life. The technologies developed so far are not mature enough, widely available at industrial scale or cost-competitive.

The recycling technologies developed so far are not mature enough, widely available at industrial scale or cost-competitive.

As the first generations of wind power plants are being decommissioned, landfilling such big items has become a major issue. Even though the material isn’t toxic, at least not in the short run, the industry is trying to find a way to reuse it.

WindEurope has called upon the European Commission to propose a ban on landfilling decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2025.

According to Siemens Gamesa, the length of blades in all the offshore wind projects expected by 2050 will reach more than 22,000 kilometers and they will weigh ten million tons in total.

Projects with EDF Renewables, wpd are in pipeline

“The time to tackle climate emergency is now, and we need to do it in a holistic way. In pioneering wind circularity – where elements contribute to a circular economy of the wind industry – we have reached a major milestone in a society that puts care for the environment at its heart,” Siemens Gamesa’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Nauen said.

The Spanish-German wind turbine manufacturer is working with both EDF Renewables and wpd to to deploy several sets of the new blades at their future offshore wind farms.

Siemens Gamesa intends to make turbines fully recyclable by 2040, as does its rival Vestas.

General Electric has established partnerships with Veolia North America (VNA), Neowa from Germany and cement giant LafargeHolcim. Ørsted, the biggest energy company in Denmark, said in June that it would “reuse, recycle, or recover” all its blades.

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