Today, there is a market for recycling most of a wind turbine, but there is not a market for recycling the composite that makes up the blades.
It addresses the DecomBlades innovation project with a new disposal specification that makes it easier to disassemble and reuse the blades. This will help industrialise the blade recycling industry and further reduce the carbon footprint of the wind industry.
Disposal specifications have been developed by mapping the composition of the blades of three major blade manufacturers; Siemens Gamesa, LM Wind Power and Vestas, all of which are involved in the DecomBlades innovation project.
After the mapping, data form the basis for a standardized recommendation for wing disposal specifications, including what materials are used in the blades and where they are located. This makes it easier for recycling companies to disassemble the blades and recycle the parts.
John Korsgaard, LM Wind Power Senior Director of Engineering Excellence and Chairman of DecomBlade’s Steering Committee, says:
“The wind industry wants to support the development of a real market for recycled blades. Recycling will never happen unless there is a market for it, and we cannot achieve scale until recycling methods constitute a business case. The more recycling companies know about the blades they receive, the more they can form a good business case and process the blades in the best possible way.”
Sophus Borch, Business Development Manager at HJHansen Recycling Group, says:
“The new specifications are an advantage for HJHansen Recycling Group within recycling of wind turbines. As a recycling company, we can help dismantle and recycle a turbine that has reached the end of its life. With the new specifications, it’s much easier for us to know how to cut the blades in the best way.”
Today, it is possible to recycle 85-95% of a wind turbine. Cost-effective and sustainable recycling of composite materials remains a challenge for the wind industry; a problem that DecomBlade’s innovation project aims to solve.
Making recycling easier, more efficient and cost-effective is key to scaling up recycling infrastructure. With more information about the blade material, one can introduce more efficiency into the process for recycling partners. That is why the DecomBlades consortium is now introducing the product disposal specifications.
The new specification can be downloaded on www.decomblades.dk and is free for anyone who wants to use it.
The project consortium consists of Ørsted, FLSmidth, HJHansen Recycling Group, LM Wind Power, MAKEEN Power, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy A/S, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and Energy Cluster Denmark.
The innovation project runs until 2024 and has a total budget of 40 million. The project is co-funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.
The DecomBlades project focuses on three processes: Mechanical grinding/cutting of wind turbine blades so that the material can be recycled into various products and processes; use of the cut blades in cement production; as well as a method of separating composite materials under high temperatures, known as pyrolysis, among others.