Vestas looking to scale up blade recycling partnership solution offering

Published on: 16 December 2021
7blade factory

Vestas has been delivering blade recycling partnership solution for wind farm operators across the USA. Glass fiber recycling methods are now at a point where they can be scaled up rapidly. DecomBlades project aims to increase adoption of recycling practices by developing pathways for commercialisation.

Vestas, the global leader in sustainable energy solutions, has provided a blade recycling partnership solution to several wind farm operators in the United States. Vestas is currently providing this service in the United States and is willing to expand into other regions where local recycling infrastructure is strong and customer demand can be established.

The first large-scale project, which saw Vestas service teams decommission and recycle ten turbine blades, was completed successfully in September. Several projects are currently under construction across multiple sites, including the 151 MW Blue Canyon 2 repowering project and the 63 MW Snyder Wind project with Enel Green Power. The operators of both projects made recycling of decommissioned blades a strict requirement. At the moment, all ongoing recycling projects in the United States have totaled 285 turbine blades, including nacelle covers and hub covers.

Vestas teams scope an optimal recycling project plan as part of the solution to align with locally available solutions and customer needs. After that, the recyclable glass fiber material is removed from the turbine and cut into transportable units. The material is then transported to vetted recycling partners, where it is recycled using a glass fiber method that aligns with the customer's sustainability goals. Cement co-processing, gasification, forming new composite materials, and reclaiming glass fiber and carbon fibers are all examples of recycling methods.

"It is an urgent and critical issue to develop a robust recycling infrastructure to support the waste management challenge across the renewables industry. Glass fiber recycling methods can now be rapidly scaled up, and with renewable plant owners becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their decommissioned assets, it's no longer a question of demand or volume."

"At Vestas, we're ready to support the global expansion of glass fiber recycling by leveraging our global transport and logistics footprint, and we're ready to offer recycling partnership solutions wherever we see an opportunity with local recycling partners and where customers value it,"

said Lisa Ekstrand, Vestas' Senior Director and Head of Sustainability.

"Enel is committed to accelerating the adoption of blade recycling practices across our projects when they reach the decommissioning phase in order to support a more sustainable future for wind power. Working with Vestas expands our circularity ambitions by allowing us to scale up our recycling efforts,"

says Peter Perrault, Director and Head of Circular Economy at Enel North America.

Vestas is currently involved in the DecomBlades project, a cross-sector initiative aimed at increasing the adoption of recycling practices through the development of commercialization pathways. Vestas is working to support the adoption of a circular economy across the renewables industry as global installed capacity of renewables is expected to increase significantly over the next decade. Vestas is currently leading the CETEC project, which is a collaboration of academic and industry leaders aimed at commercializing a new circularity technology for turbine blades.

As the waste management market continues to evolve, Vestas is expanding its recycling solutions as part of its service offering. With 52 000 tons of blade waste predicted in Europe by 2050 and more than two million tons in the United States by 2050, the need for scalable recycling pathways is growing. [1] In Europe, the wind industry has called for a ban on landfill disposal of turbine blades by 2025, and waste management and circularity regulations are tightening in some markets.

Source: Vestas news

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