Wind generator with recyclable blades
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German renewable energy producer RWE has commissioned the wind turbines equipped with recyclable blades, as part of the 342-MW Kaskasi offshore wind farm located in the North Sea. The initiative can make an important contribution to recycling solution for used wind generators.

The Kaskasi project wind turbines do not look different from conventional wind generators: the blades are made of fibre-reinforced composite material and the core is made of wood, glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam. The difference lies in the application of a special resin, which at the stage of turbine construction allows you to bond different parts of blades. Upon operation completion, turbine blades will be placed in a heated, slightly acidic solution, interacting with which the resin separates from the composite and the other materials. As a result, the blades split into several recyclable component parts.

The project will provide an opportunity to find a secondary application of the decommissioned blades, which are mostly disposed in the landfill. The developers of special resin consider that its use may result in recycling of 200,00 blades of offshore wind turbines by 2050, the total length of which will be 22,000 km and the total weight – 10 million tons.

The project implementation will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with production of composite materials. As a result, the level of carbon dioxide emissions will reduce throughout the wind turbine’s life cycle. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a specific emission of 1 kWh of electricity generated by offshore wind turbines is 12 grams of CO2, i.e. as much as at nuclear power plants (NPPs).

Finding alternatives for recycling the materials from renewable power plants is one of the most attractive segments for New energy innovations. A vivid example here is the French startup Rosi Solar, which proposed to use pyrolysis for extraction of silicon, silver and copper from the spent solar cells. The innovation will allow reuse of the materials making up 65% of the cost of photovoltaic panels.

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