Recyclable Wind Turbine Blades to Spin Offshore the Netherlands

Vattenfall and BASF have decided to fit three of the 140 Siemens Gamesa 11 MW wind turbines at the Hollandse Kust wind farm offshore the Netherlands with recyclable blades.

Conventional blades are made with resin which is fused with fiberglass and carbon to create the blade’s structure. The resin only dissolves by exposing it to a combination of high temperatures, high pressure, and special treatments. This requires a lot of energy and is therefore expensive, and the quality of the various materials decreases due to these extreme conditions, Vattenfall said.

Siemens Gamesa’s RecycableBlades use a new type of resin that dissolves when the blade is immersed in a bath containing a heated, slightly acidic solution. 

This separates the resin from the parts used in the blade without seriously damaging them. The glass and carbon fibres, the wooden parts, the plastic, and the metal can then be reused, according to Vattenfall. 

The blades will be installed at the 1.5 GW Hollandse Kust Zuid in 2023.

If successful in the auction process, Vattenfall also intends to equip several turbines on the Hollandse Kust West project with Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlades.

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The initiative is part of Vattenfall’s plan towards reaching a 50 per cent recycling rate of wind turbine blades by 2025, and a 100 per cent recycling rate of wind turbine blades by 2030.

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The company has also recently launched a project which will see the blades from the decommissioned Irene Vorrink nearshore wind farm in the Netherlands turned into skis, snowboards, and construction materials for solar farms.

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Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlades will have their offshore premiere on RWE’s Kaskasi wind farm in the German North Sea this summer.

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Photo: Siemens Gamesa