The acceleration of the circularity of the wind turbine is the title of a study prepared by three European associations in the sector which highlights opportunities, technologies and limits of this possibility.
The issue is significant as the first generation of wind generators is approaching the end of its operating life cycle and will soon be replaced by more efficient plants.
It is estimated that within three years there are 14 thousand shovels that will be decommissioned in Europe.
The report highlights how different technologies exist to recycle the blades of wind turbines, but these are not yet all available on an industrial or economically competitive scale.
The main one sees the reuse of waste in cement production which should be enhanced. WindEurope, Cefic and EuCIA strongly support an improvement in the management of waste from composite materials through the development of alternative recycling technologies (such as chemical or mechanical), but this implies developing funding for research and innovation.
According to the study The acceleration of the circularity of the wind turbine, the best strategy for the management of pale wind turbines is the integrated one that combines design, testing, maintenance, updating and a recycling technology that allows to recover the maximum value of the material within the cycle of life.
Therefore, to implement this strategy, a better understanding of the environmental impacts that the choices of materials make and the different treatments of waste end of life is needed.
It goes from that the recycling of composites becomes an intersectoral challenge to virtuously accelerate the circularity of the wind turbine. All sectors that use these materials and the authorities must work in synergy in order to seek affordable solutions and strong value chains at European level.
In the words of Roberto Frassine, President of EuCIA:
“The wind energy sector has always been at the forefront of the use of composites as they are instrumental in generating sustainable energy. With this collaboration, we hope to establish a great industry standard that will eventually also help customers in other sectors such as boating, construction and infrastructure. “