After getting the world’s first offshore wind turbine with recyclable blades up and spinning in August, Siemens Gamesa has just launched its RecyclableBlade for onshore wind power projects. The Siemens Gamesa RecyclableBlade for offshore was launched in September 2021 and installed at the 342 megawatt Kaskasi offshore wind farm in Germany in July 2022.
Siemens Gamesa has not yet said which sizes the recyclable onshore blades will be available in or when, nor how many recyclable onshore blades it’s produced so far.
The Spanish-German wind engineering giant calls its recyclable blade technology RecyclableBlade. Wind turbine blades are made of a number of materials embedded in resin. Siemens Gamesa explains:
Separating the resin, fiberglass, and wood, among others, is achieved through using a mild acid solution. The materials can then go into the circular economy, creating new products like suitcases or flat-screen casings without the need to call on more raw resources.
Siemens Gamesa says it plans to make all of its wind turbine blades fully recyclable by 2030, and all of its wind turbines fully recyclable by 2040.
This technology needs to be rolled out quickly as wind power ramps up globally: According to a 2021 study by Aubryn Cooperman, a wind energy analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and colleagues called “Wind turbine blade material in the United States: Quantities, costs, and end-of-life options”:
Assuming a 20-year turbine lifetime, the cumulative blade waste in 2050 is approximately 2.2 million tons. This value represents approximately 1% of remaining landfill capacity by volume, or 0.2% by mass.
In Europe, Siemens Gamesa is working with industry body WindEurope and other major industry players to call for a Europe-wide ban on landfill for blades.
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