WindEurope, Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council) and EUCIA (European Composites Industry Association) have joined forces to advance recycling of turbine blades.
The parties have created a cross-sector platform with an aim to advance novel approaches to the recycling of wind turbine blades.
Learnings are then expected to be transferred to other markets to enhance the overall sustainability of composites.
“Wind energy is an increasingly important part of Europe’s energy mix. The first generation of wind turbines are now starting to come to the end of their operational life and be replaced by modern turbines," said WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson.
"Recycling the old blades is a top priority for us, and teaming up with the chemical and compositors industries will enable us to do it the most effective way.”
According to WindEurope, turbine blades are made up of a composite material which boosts the performance of wind energy by allowing lighter and longer blades.
Currently, 2.5 million tons of that material is being used in the wind energy sector. In the next five years, 12,000 turbines are expected to be decommissioned, therefore broadening the range of recycling options is critical for the industry’s development, WindEurope said.
“The chemical industry plays a decisive role in the transition to a circular economy by investing in the research and development of new materials, which make wind turbine blades more reliable, affordable and recyclable. Innovation is born from collaboration and we look forward to working together to advance wind turbine blade recycling," said Cefic Director General Marco Mensink.