Siemens Gamesa Launches Recyclable Offshore Blade

Siemens Gamesa has launched what the company describes as the world’s first wind turbine blade ready for commercial use offshore that can be recycled at the end of its lifecycle – the RecyclableBlade.

The first six 81-metre long RecyclableBlades have already been produced at the Siemens Gamesa blade factory in Aalborg, Denmark.

”The time to tackle climate emergency is now, and we need to do it in a holistic way. In pioneering wind circularity – where elements contribute to a circular economy of the wind industry – we have reached a major milestone in a society that puts care for the environment at its heart. The RecyclableBlade is another tangible example of how Siemens Gamesa is leading technological development in the wind industry,” said Andreas Nauen, CEO of Siemens Gamesa.

First Deployment Offshore Germany

Siemens Gamesa is working with RWE to install and monitor the world’s first wind turbines with recyclable blades at the Kaskasi offshore wind farm in Germany. Current plans are for the project to be producing energy from 2022 onwards.

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”We are pleased that our offshore wind farm Kaskasi is able to provide a fantastic facility for testing innovations; here we are preparing to test special steel collars and to use an improved installation method for foundations,” Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Wind Offshore, RWE Renewables.

”Now, Kaskasi installs the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blade manufactured by Siemens Gamesa. This is a significant step in advancing the sustainability of wind turbines to the next level.”

Siemens Gamesa is also working with EDF Renewables with the aim to deploy several sets of RecyclableBlade at a future offshore wind farm.

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President Renewable Energies and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Renewables, said: ”We are very enthusiastic to collaborate with industrial players, such as Siemens Gamesa, to contribute to the progress of the recycling technology solutions in the wind energy sector. EDF Renewables’ team is fully mobilized to develop this pioneer technology with its suppliers with the aim to continuously improve the environmental sustainability of our projects. This agreement is in line with EDF Group Raison d’être: to conciliate the production of low-carbon electricity that benefits the climate and the reduction of local environmental impacts.”

Siemens Gamesa and wpd are also making plans to install sets of the RecyclableBlade at one of wpd’s future offshore wind farms.

Achim Berge Olsen, CEO of wpd offshore and COO of wpd group, said: ”For the last 20 years, wpd actively contributed to the sustainable development of the offshore wind industry. Through this cooperation in the recycling technology program of Siemens Gamesa, we’re making another step forward for the industry, which makes us enthusiastic regarding sustainability of the supply chain in the future.”

The Siemens Gamesa wind turbine blades are made from a combination of materials cast together with resin to form a strong and flexible lightweight structure. The chemical structure of this new resin type makes it possible to efficiently separate the resin from the other components at end of the blade’s working life, the company said. This mild process protects the properties of the materials in the blade, in contrast to other existing ways of recycling conventional wind turbine blades. The materials can then be reused in new applications after separation.

Fully Recyclable Wind Turbine by 2040

Siemens Gamesa has recently launched a Sustainability Vision towards 2040, with one of the goals being to make turbines fully recyclable by 2040.

”Our aspiration is to produce wind turbines that can generate renewable electricity for 20-30 years. When they reach the end of their useful life, we can separate the materials and use them for new relevant applications. The RecyclableBlade is a great step in that direction and well ahead of our 2040 goal,” said Gregorio Acero, Head of Quality Management & Health, Safety, and Environment at Siemens Gamesa.

Photo: Siemens Gamesa/Illustration