DecomBlades’ breakthrough in recycling wind turbine blades

New results from the DecomBlades innovation project proofs that glass fibre retrieved from wind turbine blades can be processed and melted to high-quality fibre qualifying to be used in new wind turbine blades. Proving this way of using recovered glass fibres is a real breakthrough on the path to a circular wind industry.

For 20 years, private companies and research scientists have experimented with recycling blades from wind turbines that have reached the end-of-life. Now, a huge progress is being made to find recycling paths for the necessary quantities of blades, as more and more wind turbines are decommissioned. 

Using the largescale pyrolysis test plant developed by MAKEEN Energy, the consortium behind the DecomBlades innovation project has succeeded in extracting and processing the principal component – glass fibres – from retired 37-metre wind turbine blades to such a high quality that the material can be melted and used in the production of new wind turbine blades.

“At first attempt, we have succeeded in recovering and processing glass fibre that is suitable for inclusion in the raw material mix on a par with virgin material in the extremely sensitive glass fibre production process. We have achieved this important milestone not at laboratory scale, but at an industrial level. The process has real commercial prospects. It’s incredibly exciting to have reached this point,” says Irene Bach Velling Villadsen, Project Manager at MAKEEN Energy, the company that has developed the pyrolysis technology used in the process.

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