The world’s first turbine with recyclable blades is now operational

However, with the increased demand for wind turbines, there is also the dreaded drawback of the amount of waste these turbines will result in when they reach the end of their lifetimes. To make them lightweight, turbine manufacturers used a variety of components that are bound together with a resin, so that they do not fall apart in rough conditions. This is what makes them non-environmentally friendly when not generating power.

Although we have reported some innovative ways in how turbines could be reused, the need of the hour is a much more sustainable solution.

The recyclable blade

Turbine maker Siemens Gamesa recognized the major issue of their product and began working on its Recyclable Blade last year. The company claims that it has replaced the resin that it uses on the blade which is now dissolvable in a mild acid solution.

When the blade completes its lifetime, the resin can be fully dissolved to recover the turbine components such as fiberglass and wood. It can then enter the circular economy to create new products such as suitcases or flat-screen casings without needing additional raw materials.

The technology was developed at the company’s Aalborg facility in Denmark while the blades were manufactured at Hull in the UK. The nacelle of the turbine is manufactured in Cuxhaven in Germany.

Where is the turbine installed?

The RecyclableBlade has been installed as part of the Kaskasi offshore wind farm in the North Sea. The turbine blades are handcrafted and 265 feet (81 m) long. Although Siemens Gamesa has not specified the exact number of blades that will be used, the Kaskasi wind farm is designed to have 38 of the company’s SG 8.0-167 DD turbines. The total output of the offshore project is 342 MW, which is expected to power 400,000 households in Germany.

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