The DecomBlades consortium has teamed up with glass fibre producer 3B in launching a ground-breaking commercial-scale experiment in 3B’s plant in Birkeland, Norway to prove that it is both possible and environmentally viable to use pyrolysis as part of the production process of high-quality glass fibre from old wind turbine blades. This is a crucial step in the consortium’s work aiming to establish value chains that can ensure the sustainable recycling of wind turbine blades.
The DecomBlades project’s overall aim is to establish the basis for sustainable, cost-efficient, and viable value chains for recycling of wind turbine blades.
The innovation project is funded by Innovation Fund Denmark and is a collaboration between MAKEEN Energy, LM Wind Power, Siemens Gamesa, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Ørsted, Technical University of Denmark (DTU Wind and Energy Systems), University of Southern Denmark (SDU), HJHansen Recycling, FLSmidth, and Energy Cluster Denmark.
Currently, a lot of material in decommissioned wind turbine blades is either sent to landfill or is incinerated for cement production, substituting other waste streams for heating. As more and more wind turbines are put up across the world, the challenge is to find sustainable and feasible methods of recycling the materials.
3B and DecomBlades’ current experiment focuses on pyrolysis as a means to prepare fibres for remelting. Pyrolysis is a process of exposing materials to high heat in an oxygen-free environment and is used to separate the materials. The materials are processed and then used in new applications.
The ambition for the DecomBlades partnership is to demonstrate the feasibility of re-melting recycled glass fibre to increase circularity and determine the greenhouse gas emissions impact.