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Of Denmark Orsted said Thursday it will “reuse, recycle or restore” any turbine blades in its global portfolio of wind farms once they are decommissioned.
The world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms said it had “a clear responsibility to find solutions to the rotor blade recycling challenge”.
The industry is worried about what to do with wind turbine rotor blades when they are no longer needed. This is because the composite blades are difficult to recycle. Orsted noted that “most” blades were sent to landfill after they were shut down.
As governments around the world try to expand their renewable energy capacity, the number of wind turbines around the world is expected to increase.
In the offshore sector alone, the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, wants to achieve a capacity of at least 60 gigawatts by 2030 and 300 GW by the middle of the century.
The UK, which left the EU at the end of January 2020, aims to achieve 40 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030 significantly increase its offshore wind capacity this decade.
With this in mind, the problem of what to do with turbine blades will become even more pressing in the future. For his part, Orsted stated that it would “temporarily store” discarded blades if the search for a recycling solution took “longer than expected”.
A number of companies in the industry have tried to find solutions to the problem in recent years. In January 2020 wind energy giant Vestas said it was aimed at producing “Zero waste” wind turbines by 2040.
Last December, GE Renewable Energy and Veolia North America signed a “Multi-Year Agreement” Recycling of rotor blades from onshore wind turbines in the United States.
Recently it became known that a collaboration between academia and industry would focus on recycling fiberglass products, a step that could ultimately help reduce wind turbine blade waste.
Orsted, Vestas and LM Wind Power – part of GE Renewable Energy – are also part of the DecomBlades consortium, an initiative that focuses on the recycling of rotor blades.