Siemens Gamesa has officially launched its “world first” recyclable wind turbine blade to the market for onshore power projects, following the delivery of its first recyclable offshore wind turbine blades earlier this year, the company announced yesterday.
It means the wind power engineering giant’s RecyclableBlade is now available for both onshore and offshore wind projects, which it said marked a major milestone for building a more circular wind energy sector worldwide.
The recyclable blade was first brought to market for the offshore wind sector in just 10 months following its launch in September 2021, in a bid to address the “tricky” issue of blade recyclability in the industry.
The traditional production process for wind blades involves a number of composite materials, including resin, glass and fibres, which are typically then disposed of at the end of a wind farm’s lifecycle. But while around 85 per cent of a wind turbine’s composite parts can be fully recycled, many blades still end up going to landfill sites after decommissioning, according to Siemens Gamesa.
In a bid to address the issue and boost circularity in the renewable energy sector, the firm created RecyclableBlade, which it claims is “the world’s first fully recyclable blade”. Its recovery process uses a mild acidic solution to separate the materials at the end of the wind turbine’s lifetime meaning they can then be recycled for use in other industries, including construction, consumer goods or the automotive industry.
The first offshore wind RecyclableBlade was installed at RWE’s Kaskasi project in Germany in July 2022, and now onshore wind developers will also be able to purchase recyclable blades for their projects, according to Siemens Gamesa.
“Launching our RecyclableBlade for onshore sites is another outstanding achievement from our dedicated professionals,” said Siemens Gamesa CEO Jochen Eickholt. “The concept was always foreseen to encompass solutions for offshore and onshore, and we’re pleased to now provide them commercially to our customers in both market segments.”
The move forms part of the company’s broader environmental strategy, which includes a target to create fully recyclable wind turbines by 2040 at the latest.
Alongside trade body WindEurope and other industry players, Siemens Gamesa is also calling for a European-wide ban on sending wind power blades to landfill, in order to help build the market for recyclable alternatives.
“We are driving the wind industry towards full circularity with our commitment to make wind power as sustainable as it can be at every stage of its lifetime,” said Tim Dawidowsky, Siemens Gamesa’s chief operating officer and chief sustainability officer. “Together with our customers and our suppliers, we want wind power solutions from Siemens Gamesa to continue to help countries around the world meet their net zero carbon emission goals.”