Swedish utility Vattenfall AB will trial reusing the blades from a 16.8-MW decommissioned wind farm for the production of sports equipment, insulation materials and solar farm components.
While most of the wind turbine components are already recyclable, recycling turbine blades, which are made of composite materials, remains a challenge.
According to Vattenfall, the 28-turbine Irene Vorrink wind farm will be the largest so far from which blades will be fully recycled or reused. The company announced the decommissioning of the nearshore wind farm in the IJseelmer lake in the Netherlands in March. The turbines had been in service since 1997.
The blades will be cut into smaller pieces before being transported to the recycling facility. Some of the blades will go to Norwegian recycling firm Gjenkraft AS, which will produce recycled fibers, synthetic oils and gas that could then be turned into sports products such as skis and snowboards or insulation materials. The LIFE CarbonGreen Consortium will focus on researching re-processing blades for use in the construction of solar farms, while educational institute ROC van Amsterdam will get two blades for training wind turbine technicians.
The company last week commented that the new approach could mean a second life for the over 30,000 blades currently in operation in the UK. Vattenfall aims to recycle at least 50% of all decommissioned turbine blades by 2025 and 100% by 2030. In the UK, the developer operates 10 onshore and offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 1,069 MW.
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