Some Hollandse Kust turbines to use recyclable blades

Vattenfall and BASF have revealed plans to install recyclable blades on three wind turbines in Dutch waters in 2023.

The partners have announced that Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlades, which are made of a new type of resin, will appear on three of the 140 turbines that will make up its Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm. Vattenfall has plans to recycle all wind turbine blades by the end of this decade.

The wind industry continues to grow and so will the number of blades that will reach end of life”, said Eva Philipp, Head of Vattenfall’s Environment and Sustainability Unit. “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.”

Blades have long been an issue in recycling wind turbines, proving more challenging than other components to recycle, on account of the resin, which goes with glass and carbon fibre to create them. Dissolving the resin requires special processes and high temperatures, reducing material properties and adding costs and energy usage.

The new model, however, uses a different type of resin, which dissolves in a mildly acidic, low-temperature solution, allowing it to be separated from other blade components, such as fibreglass, carbon fibre, plastic, wood, and metal. The model was launched in 2021. Vattenfall previously secured some of these blades for its Hollandse Kust West projects.

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