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DecomBlades consortium awarded funding for turbine blade recycling project

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The DecomBlades consortium, composed of ten project partners, has secured support from the Innovation Fund Denmark for the three-year project aimed at creating a framework for the commercialization of renewable wind turbine recycling technologies.

Ten Danish project partners have obtained support from the Innovation Fund Denmark’s Grand Solutions initiative to co-finance the ‘DecomBlades’ research and development project: a three-year project that aims to provide a foundation for commercializing sustainable solutions for the recycling of wind turbine blades.

Project members are headquartered in Denmark, but many work around the world and have the potential to execute strategies on a global scale.

The cross-sector consortium behind DecomBlades consists of Ørsted, LM Wind Power – GE Renewable Energy, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, FLSmidth, MAKEEN Power, HJHansen Recycling, Energy Cluster Denmark (ECD), Southern Denmark University (SDU) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

Together, these partners embody the value chain needed to create a recycling industry for composite materials – from production to manufacturing to implementation.

Today, 85 to 95 percent of the wind turbine can be recycled, but the cost-effective recycling of composite materials remains a problem. Globally, a record 2.5 million tons of composite materials are currently used in wind turbines.

The wind power industry generates significantly less composite waste than other sectors – such as manufacturing, electronics, transport and shipping – but it is an important goal for the wind power industry to ensure that there are safe recycling options for all materials used in wind turbines. If the wind power industry expands, the obligation becomes much greater.

“The wind power industry is committed to finding a sustainable way to dispose of these decommissioned wind turbine blades with respect to the environment, health and safety of workers, energy consumption and cost, and we simply don’t yet have solutions that meet all those criteria. To create viable, sustainable, cost-efficient solutions for recycling wind turbine blades, it is essential that composite materials from blades can be incorporated into similar resource streams and processed in the same facilities.”

John Korsgaard, LM Wind Power senior director of engineering excellence and chair of the DecomBlades steering committee.

In DecomBlades, ten project partners will discover and develop technologies for the recycling of composite content in wind turbine blades. The project focuses on three particular processes: the shredding of wind turbine blades in such a way that the material can be reused in various products and processes; the use of shredded blade material in cement production; and, ultimately, the procedure for extracting composite materials at high temperatures, commonly known as pyrolysis.

“In DecomBlades, ten project partners will discover and develop technologies for the recycling of composite content in wind turbine blades. The project focuses on three particular processes: the shredding of wind turbine blades in such a way that the material can be reused in various products and processes; the use of shredded blade material in cement production; and, ultimately, the procedure for extracting composite materials at high temperatures, commonly known as pyrolysis.”

John Korsgaard, LM Wind Power senior director of engineering excellence and chair of the DecomBlades steering committee.

Sustainable, easily accessible and cost-effective technologies for the processing of composite materials would help the wind power industry – and other composite manufacturing sectors – in the transition to a circular economy.

The DecomBlades consortium seeks to make Denmark a pioneer in the creation of supply chains for recycled strategies in the circular economy, generating jobs both in Denmark and internationally in the area of sustainable technology.

Nedim Husomanovic

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