Vestas Wind Systems A/S (CPH:VWS) on Wednesday presented a new solution based on a novel chemical process, which, it hopes, would eventually put an end to landfill disposal of epoxy-based blades upon decommissioning of wind turbines.
The Danish company described a newly-discovered chemical technology that can chemically break down epoxy resin into virgin-grade materials, an outcome that, up until now, was believed to be impossible. This is crucial because if matured, this technology could eliminate the need for changing the design or composition of blade material and ultimately help achieve circularity.
The novel chemical process was developed as part of the CETEC (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) project. Apart from Vestas, the partners involved in this initiative include the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), Aarhus University, and American epoxy producer Olin Corporation (NYSE:OLN).
“The newly discovered chemical process shows that epoxy-based turbine blades, whether in operation or sitting in landfill, can be turned into a source of raw material to potentially build new turbine blades. As the chemical process relies on widely available chemicals, it is highly compatible for industrialisation, and can therefore be scaled up quickly,” explained Mie Elholm Birkbak, Specialist, Innovation & Concepts at Vestas.
The Danish wind turbine maker said it will now focus on scaling up the chemical disassembly process into a commercial solution through a newly-established value chain backed by Olin and Nordic recycling specialist Stena Recycling. The ultimate goal is to reach the point where Vestas is able to produce new turbine blades made from re-used blade material.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.076)
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