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7/11/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Joint project to advance wind turbine blade recycling

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A group of European wind and chemical industry partners aims to broaden the range of recycling options for composite wind blades.

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The European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA), the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and WindEurope (European Association for wind energy) have partnered to advance the recycling of wind turbine blades.

According to EuCIA, wind energy supplied 14% of the electricity in the EU in 2018, with 130,000 wind turbines, and this number is expected to grow. Today, 2.5 million tons of composite materials are used in the wind energy sector for wind turbine blades, EuCIA says. In the next five years, 12,000 wind turbines are expected to be decommissioned. Because of this, EuCIA says broadening the range of recycling options is critical for the industry’s development.

“The first generation of wind turbines are now starting to come to the end of their operational life and be replaced by modern turbines,” says Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope. “Recycling the old blades is a top priority for us, and teaming up with the chemical and composites industries will enable us to do it the most effective way.”

“The chemical industry plays a decisive role in the transition to a circular economy by investing in the research and development of new materials, which make wind turbine blades more reliable, affordable and recyclable,” says Marco Mensink, director general of Cefic. “Innovation is born from collaboration and we look forward to working together to advance wind turbine blade recycling.”

“The wind energy sector has always been at the forefront of using composites as they are instrumental to sustainable energy generation,” says Roberto Frassine, EUCIA president. “With this collaboration we hope to set a great industry standard that ultimately will also help customers in other industries like marine and building & infrastructure.”

Learnings from wind turbine recycling will then be transferred to other markets to enhance the overall sustainability of composites.

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