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A completely recyclable wind turbine blade

Spanish-German company Siemens Gamesa developed a wind turbine blade that is completely recyclable. At end-of-life, the material can be separated and be reused.

Wind power is one of the most important ways to generate renewable energy. Over the years, wind turbines and their blades have increased in size to generate more and more energy. Many components of a wind turbine, such as the tower and nacelle components have established recycling practices. However, to make them both strong and lightweight, wind turbine blades are made of composite materials, which are difficult to recycle, because the materials are fused with resin and cannot be separated easily.

While Siemens Gamesa’s wind turbine blades are made with conventional materials, the difference lies in the resin. While said to be just as strong as conventional resin, the chemical structure makes it possible to separate the resin from the other components at the end of the blade’s working life using a mild acid. The other materials can then be reused in new applications.

The first six 81-meter long RecyclableBlades have been produced at the Siemens Gamesa blade factory in Aalborg, Denmark. Siemens Gamesa is working closely with RWE to install and pilot the innovative recyclable blades at the Kaskasi offshore wind power plant in Germany for the first time.

Photos: Siemens Gamesa / Appolinary Kalashnikova