Wind turbine manufacturing giant Siemens Gamesa has launched the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades ready for commercial use offshore.
Many components of a wind turbine, such as the tower and nacelle components, have established recycling practices, however, the composite materials used in wind turbine blades have been more challenging to recycle. The Siemens Gamesa so-called RecyclableBlade breaks this mould and is the first of its kind, enabling recycling at the end of its lifecycle.
The wind turbine blades are made from a combination of materials cast together with resin to form a strong and flexible lightweight structure. The chemical structure of this new resin type makes it possible to efficiently separate the resin from the other components at the end of the blade’s working life, Siemens Gamesa explained. “This mild process protects the properties of the materials in the blade, in contrast to other existing ways of recycling conventional wind turbine blades. The materials can then be reused in new applications after separation.”
The first six 81 m long RecyclableBlades have been produced at the Siemens Gamesa manufacturing plant in Aalborg, Denmark. The company has already struck a deal with three of its major customers, RWE, EDF Renewables, and Wpd. Siemens Gamesa and RWE will install and monitor the world’s first wind turbines with recyclable blades in Germany at the Kaskasi offshore wind power plant from 2022.
Siemens Gamesa recently launched an ambitious sustainability vision towards 2040 with an ambitious goal to make turbines fully recyclable by then.
“Our aspiration is to produce wind turbines that can generate renewable electricity for 20-30 years. When they reach the end of their useful life, we can separate the materials and use them for new relevant applications. The RecyclableBlade is a great step in that direction and well ahead of our 2040 goal,” said Gregorio Acero, head of quality management & health, safety, and environment at Siemens Gamesa.