The manufacturer of wind turbines in Denmark, Vestas, has revealed that it has created a chemical mixture that decomposes wind turbine blades and permits their recycling. Blades that are already sitting in landfills as well as blades that have been discontinued could both be broken down using the method.
According to Electrek, the chemical compound created with assistance from the Danish Technological Institute, Aarhus University, and epoxy producer Olin disassembles epoxy resin into its component parts.
Epoxy resin’s chemical characteristics were formerly thought to make it impossible to deconstruct and reuse.
According to a news statement from Vestas, the fix makes epoxy-based turbine blades round without altering their structure or material makeup.
The innovative approach might prevent a significant amount of trash because WindEurope estimates that more than 27,000 tonnes of wind turbine blades will reach the end of their useful lives by 2025 and more than 57,000 tonnes by 2030.
According to Vesta’s press statement, this ushered in a new era for the wind industry and quickens our progress toward achieving circularity. Lisa Ekstrand is vice president and head of sustainability at Vestas.
According to Ekstrand, the wind industry previously believed that in order for turbine blade material to be recyclable, it would need to be redesigned or remanufactured.
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We may now think of outdated epoxy-based blades as a source of raw materials moving forward. Ekstrand stated in the press release that once this new technology is put into practice on a large scale, legacy blade material that is currently in landfills as well as blade material in operating wind farms can be deconstructed and used again.
With the help of Olin and the Nordic company Stena Recycling, the chemical breakdown process may now be integrated into a new value chain, according to Vestas.
Thousands more turbines will be retired or repowered in the upcoming years, posing a significant sustainability challenge but also providing an important source of composite materials. We play a crucial role in the shift to a circular economy as one of Europe’s top recycling organizations with a sizable presence there.
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According to Henrik Grand Petersen, managing director of Stena Recycling Denmark, in a press release, “We see this solution as a huge opportunity to participate in making a sustainable solution even more sustainable and circular and are ready to apply our chemical recycling expertise and knowledge to this process.”
Vestas will be able to create brand-new wind turbine blades in the future using recycled blade material thanks to the technique. Additionally, it implies that any epoxy-based composite material has the potential to serve as a source of raw materials for several other businesses.