Can wind energy turbines be recycled? CanREA responds

can wind energy windstream

Can wind energy turbines be recycled? Is question constantly rising in the sector; primarily as the industry grows around North America. The creation of a supply chain has been one of the hot topics of the last few years. But also, how to further drop-down costs and get higher returns. In this regard, hoy much of these devices could be recycled?

Firstly, the Canadian Renewables Associations responds that indeed they are recyclable; according to a fact sheet released via Twitter, the Association says approximately 85 to 90% of a wind energy turbine’s total mass can be re used.

Secondly wind farms have a life cycle of approximately 20 years; consequently, as wind farms in Europe and North America reach that age, repurposing and recycling services are increasing. In this regard, Canada is on its way to position on that market.

Thirdly, some of the components that can be repurposed in wind turbines are: blades, generators, and inverters. Also, when a wind farm reached its end-life, there are two options, or recycle and repropose the asset; or a decommissioning and return the land to its original state.

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Wind energy turbines recycling services growing in N.A

Consequently, in both cases, a recycling method is needed. According to CanREA, one of them is to grind down the pieces of the turbine for use as filler material in the construction market. In some other cases, a wind turbine blade can be re-sued for various structures such as car ports, pedestrian bridges and play structures.

Moreover, Canada is working to be at the forefront of these kind of services; according to the fact sheet, Canadian entrepreneurs and researchers are advancing new ideas for the matter. In the spot is the company Vestas; one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines. Back in 2020 the company initiated the “Turbine Blade Circular Economy Challenge.”

wind energy turbine

In addition, in the U.S. much progress is also being made in the recycling of wind turbines. As we have reported previously, in late 2020 French-company Veolia, through its North American subsidiary (VNA), signed a multi-year deal with General Electric (GE) Renewable Energy. The arrangement will enable GE to reuse blades extracted from Veolia’s American onshore wind turbines during redesign and repowering activities. 

Finally, such efforts are on its way to reach scale. CanREA members are examining new ways to innovate and close the circular economy loop. From the sourcing of raw materials to the final disposal and reuse of components, the opportunities to push further into sustainability; over the full life cycle of our technologies continue to expand.

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