GE’s renewables department manufactures zero waste promise for making wind turbine blade

GE’s renewables department manufactures zero waste promise for making wind turbine blade

Summary:

  • The problem of what to do with wind turbine blades that are no longer in use has become a concern for the industry.
  • This is because the composite materials used to make blades can be difficult to recycle, resulting in many of them ending up in landfills when their useful life is through.

Aim to develop more Sustainable Processes

GE’s renewable energy segment announced on Tuesday that by 2030, it will be producing zero-waste wind turbine blades. The company will then be the first in the industry to implement more environmentally friendly manufacturing procedures.

GE Renewable Energy said in a statement that its LM Wind Power business in Denmark would execute more sustainable practices. They include repurposing, recycling, or recovering all surplus materials from blade manufacture, as well as foregoing landfilling and incineration as waste management options.

The LM Wind Power announcement solely addresses waste generated during the production process; it does not address what happens to the blades once their service life has expired.

The company intends to address the latter in a variety of ways. It is a member of the DecomBlades consortium, which is made up of numerous significant industry participants and focuses on blade recycling. It’s also a part of the ZEBRA project, which focuses on designing and manufacturing recyclable wind turbine blades.

Wind turbine blade disposal has become a burden for the business. This is because the composite materials used to make blades can be difficult to recycle, resulting in many of them ending up in landfills at the end of their useful lives.

The number of wind turbines in the world is only expected to rise as governments around the world try to increase their renewable energy potential. This will put even more pressure on the industry to find long-term and manageable solutions for blade disposal.

Companies to Overcome Challenges themselves

In light of this, industry group WindEurope has called for a landfill ban on decommissioned wind turbine blades across Europe by 2025. A handful of businesses, on the other hand, have attempted to build their remedies to the problem.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy unveiled “the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades ready for commercial usage offshore” in September.

In June, Orsted, a Danish company, claimed it would “reuse, recycle, or recover” all turbine blades in its global portfolio of wind farms once they were decommissioned. In the same month, GE Renewable Energy and Holcim, a cement company, announced a partnership to investigate the recycling of wind turbine blades. Vestas announced in January 2020 that by 2040, it hoped to build “zero-waste” wind turbines.

Many businesses are seeking to adopt circular economy ideas, with wind energy being one of them. Northvolt, a Swedish battery company, announced earlier this month that it has developed the world’s first “100% recycled nickel, manganese, and cobalt” battery cell.

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