Wind turbine blades manufactured by LM Wind Power arrived at the offshore renewable energy catapult in Bryce, UK on August 15, 2019.
Tom White | Getty Images News | Getty Images
General Electric The renewable energy sector said on Tuesday that it will manufacture zero-waste wind turbine blades by 2030, becoming the newest operator in the industry, trying to develop more sustainable production processes.
GE Renewable Energy stated in a statement that its Danish-based LM Wind Power subsidiary will “reuse, re-use, recycle or recycle all excess materials in the blade manufacturing process, and abandon landfill and incineration as waste management. solution.”
The LM Wind Power announcement only concerns waste from the manufacturing process, and does not cover what will happen after the end of the blade’s service life.
The company is seeking to resolve the latter in multiple ways. It is part of the DecomBlades Alliance, an initiative focused on blade recycling, composed of several major players in the industry.
It is also involved in ZEBRA, the Zero Waste Blade Research Project, which focuses on the design and manufacture of fully recyclable wind turbine blades.
How to deal with wind turbine blades when they are no longer needed has become a headache for the industry. This is because the composite materials from which the blades are made are difficult to recycle, which means that many blades will end up in landfill at the end of their useful life.
As governments around the world try to increase their renewable energy capacity, the number of wind turbines worldwide seems only to increase, which in turn will increase the pressure on the industry to find sustainable and manageable blade handling solutions.
In this context, the industry body WindEurope stated that it hopes to “ban the landfill of discarded wind turbine blades in Europe by 2025”, and many companies have sought to develop their own solutions to meet this challenge.
A few months ago, in June, Denmark’s Orsted stated that it would “Reuse, recycle or recycle” all turbine blades In its portfolio of global wind farms that have been decommissioned.
In January 2020, Vestas stated that its goal is Produce “zero waste” wind turbines by 2040.
All of the above examples can be seen as efforts to develop the so-called circular economy, which the EU calls “a mode of production and consumption that involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.”
Wind energy is one of many industries trying to develop methods related to the concept of circular economy. Just this month, the Swedish battery company Northvolt Said it has produced the first battery It is described as “100% recovery of nickel, manganese and cobalt”.
In a statement, the company attracted Goldman Sachs with VolkswagenAnd so on-it means that the nickel-manganese-cobalt cathode of the battery is produced using metals “recycled through recycling of battery waste”.
Northvolt said that tests have shown that its performance is comparable to batteries made from newly mined metals.