Vattenfall and BASF will install Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlades at the Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm. The blades are made with a new type of resin which makes it easier to reclaim the different blade components. Three of the 140 Siemens Gamesa offshore wind turbines will be fitted with the new blades in calendar year 2023.
Last year, Vattenfall announced that it aims to recycle all wind turbine blades by 2030. “The wind industry continues to grow and so will the number of blades that will reach end of life. Vattenfall is committed to promoting a circular economy and reducing environmental impact throughout the product’s life cycle. Using recyclable turbine blades is a logical next step to reach those ambitions,” says Eva Philipp, head of Vattenfall’s Environment and Sustainability Unit.
New resin key to recycling
While most parts of a wind turbine can be recycled after their working life, blades have previously been a challenge. The problem lies in the resin, which is used in combination with glass and carbon fiber for the structure of the blades. It typically takes high temperatures, high pressure, special processes, or a combination of these to dissolve the resin. This drives up the energy use and thereby cost; it also reduces the material properties in the blade as they deteriorate due to the exposure to these extreme dissolving conditions.
Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlades use a resin type that dissolves in a low-temperature, mildly acidic solution. This separates the resin from the other components in the blade: fiberglass, carbon fiber, plastic, wood, and metal without significantly impacting their properties. This allows the components to be recycled into new products afterwards.
RecyclableBlades also targeted for Hollandse Kust West
The Recycableblades were launched in 2021 and are still limited available. Hollandse Kust Zuid 1-4 is the first Vattenfall project which will employ them with installation intended for 2023. In addition, Vattenfall has secured availability of the blades for its Hollandse Kust West projects. If Vattenfall is awarded one or both sites, a number of turbines are targeted to employ Siemens Gamesa RecyclableBlades.
See below a video of Siemens Gamesa on the RecyclableBlade: