With the increasing number of wind power installations in the world, people from all walks of life are concerned about how to deal with retired wind turbines. Spanish energy company Iberdrola decided to set up a new company EnergyLOOP, which will recycle wind turbine blades and other renewable energy equipment parts in the future and try to return materials to the industry chain.
Iberdrola pointed out that in the future EnergyLOOP will set up a blade recycling plant in Navarra, Spain. The company said its initial goal is to recycle wind turbine blade materials, including glass, carbon fiber and resin, and repurpose them for energy, aerospace, automotive, textiles, chemicals and construction.
EnergyLOOP has been supported by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Iberdrola said.
The issue of wind turbine blade recycling can be said to have long been a headache for the industry because the blades are made of composite materials that are difficult to recycle and each company has a slightly different design. In the past, most of the industry directly incinerated or buried these waste blades. In the future, there will be more and more retired wind turbines and the situation will become more and more urgent. About 5,700 wind turbines are expected to be removed annually in Europe by 2030, Iberdrola said.
At present, many teams and companies have begun to study blade recycling. For example, Siemens Gamesa said in September 2021 that it has launched recyclable fan blades, and its RecyclableBlades will be the world's first recyclable fan blades that can be used for offshore wind power.
In June 2021, Denmark's Orsted also proposed a 3R vision. Once the wind turbines of its wind farms are retired, all wind turbine blades will be reused, recycled, and recovered. GE’s renewable energy division has also struck a deal with cement giant Holcim to explore wind turbine blade recycling together. In January 2020, another wind energy giant, Vestas, also hopes to make zero-waste wind turbines by 2040.