Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy took a big step towards achieving its stated goal of making wind turbines fully recyclable by 2040 by introducing what is known as the world’s first recyclable commercial turbine blade, the RecyclableBlade.
Gregorio Acero, head of Quality Management & Health, Safety, and Environment at Siemens Gamesa explained, “Our aspiration is to produce wind turbines that can generate renewable electricity for 20-30 years. When they reach the end of their useful life, we can separate the materials and use them for new relevant applications. The RecyclableBlade is a great step in that direction and well ahead of our 2040 goal.”
The RecyclableBlade is innovative in that its design allows for a simpler, cleaner means of recycling the composite materials used in wind blades. Separating the composite materials has been difficult, and the chemical structure of a new resin type used to build the RecyclableBlade allows for efficient separation of the resin from the composite materials and other components in the blade at the end of the blade’s life. The properties of the materials in the blade are protected in the process and the materials can be reused in new applications.
Siemens Gamesa has produced six of the 81-meter long RecyclableBlades at its blade factory in Aalborg, Denmark and three major customers have signed agreements to purchase the new blades – RWE for the pilot project at the Kaskasi offshore wind plant in Germany, EDF Renewables for a future offshore project, and wpd for a future offshore wind power plant. The Kaskasi pilot project includes plans to produce energy from 2022 onward.
“The time to tackle climate emergency is now, and we need to do it in a holistic way. In pioneering wind circularity – where elements contribute to a circular economy of the wind industry – we have reached a major milestone in a society that puts care for the environment at its heart. The RecyclableBlade is another tangible example of how Siemens Gamesa is leading technological development in the wind industry,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens Gamesa.