Turbine manufacturer Vestas, controls about 18 percent of the market, has a new system to help recycle the blades.
As the world attempts to fight back against the climate crisis, alternate sources of energy become more and more important. Wind energy, powered by turbines, has become one of the largest growing green industries out there. But the technology isn't 100% green yet, as the fans on the turbines are made by glass and carbon fiber heated together with sticky epoxy resin. The material can't be separated once it combines which means they go to the landfill when they're no longer usable. Typically a wind turbine lasts about 20 to 25 years, at which point the owner can either order it decommissioned or get it refitted with new parts.
Vestas, the turbine manufacturer that controls about 18% of the international market, wants to change that. They have announced that it has created a chemical compound that breaks down the epoxy resin, allowing the materials to be recycled and reused for new blades. The company plans to tackle the recyclability problem for the next 20 years, until they’re operating at zero waste by 2040.
The new technology will "be a significant milestone in enabling a future where landfill is no longer required in blade decommissioning," Allan Poulsen, Vestas' head of sustainability and advanced materials, said in a statement.
“We have spent quite some time on the approach to create zero-waste turbines because we know that this new strategic approach could potentially be the new standard for future turbines,” says Peter Garrett at Vestas.