Turbine blades from a wind farm in the Netherlands will be the first to be recycled and turned into skis, snowboards and construction materials for solar farms.
Vattenfall is working with Gjenkraft to recycle the blades from the 28-turbine Irene Vorrink wind farm, which has been dismantled after 25 years of service.
The initiative supports Vattenfall’s target to recycle all blades by 2030 and 50% of all dismantled wind turbine blades by 2025.
Gustav Frid, Senior Environment & Sustainability Specialist at Vattenfall said: “First of all, we want to learn from this process and see which companies are suitable to help us recycle the wind blades. We believe that there is no single solution for this but rather a number of different ones. Because Vattenfall has proven to be a leader in sustainability in recent years, many companies want to collaborate with us, and they are contacting us.”
According to Gjenkraft, wind turbine blades consist not only of resin and glass or carbon fibre but also of balsa wood, PVC or PET foam, other polymers and metals.
Gjenkraft Co-owner Marcin Rusin added: “It is almost impossible to separate the individual components so they have to be processed together. This complicates the recycling process and the possibility of recovering residual value from the blades.
“In the recycling process, we can adjust the parameters to obtain the properties that our customers expect from our products. Our products are used again to make skis or snowboards and other products that contain glass fibres and carbon fibres.”