Circular economy: Offshore turbine firms ally to recycle blades, strip carbon from steel


Wind power generator Ørsted and turbine maker Vestas are partnering in an industry-first recycling deal, aimed at minimising the environmental impact of future offshore spinners.

Fewer end-of-life blades sent to landfill and less carbon embedded in steel for towers are goals for the partnership.

The deal is made, say the pair, in response to what they identify as law-makers’ and developers’ demand for lower embedded emissions. It covers all the pair’s worldwide installations.  Both firms a major presence in British offshore wind, which the government wants reach 50GW in capacity within seven years.

Electricity made from wind comes in at a mere 1% per unit of the carbon content of coal-fired power, they note.  But Vestas and Ørsted say they must go further.

By committing to sustainable procurement in all future offshore projects they share, they say the Danish developer is creating demand for Vestas’ innovative low-carbon and circular solutions.

Ørsted group president and CEO Mads Nipper said: “There’s no playing defence when it comes to climate change. And no progress without partnerships.

“Ørsted is are very proud to partner with Vestas to integrate and scale cutting-edge decarbonisation and circularity solutions to meet future customer demands for net-zero wind farms. Together, we’re leading the industry towards Net Zero.

The Dane called for decision-makers across the globe to also take action and help drive demand for low-carbon and circular solutions within renewable energy.“

His Vestas counterpart Henrik Andersen added;  “The energy transition requires unprecedented scale and pace, and we need strong partnerships between leading companies and industries to succeed.

“We are excited to partner with Ørsted to expedite the deployment of our cutting-edge circular blade recycling technology.

“This partnership is a leap forward for developing circular wind power projects and sends a powerful message that commercial agreements and collaboration are vital in our urgent fight against the climate crisis.“

For all shared new offshore projects, the two companies now pledge to :

  • install a minimum of 25 % low-carbon steel towers. Use of scrap steel re-cast with renewable electricity can cut embedded carbon by as much as 70%, Vestas says
  • opt for re-purposed second-life blades and scale up technology for recycling blade materials

Over two years partnering in the CETEC project, Vestas were first to break down composite materials in both existing and future epoxy-based blades, using the recovered epoxy resin for new blades.

It is currently working to upscale recycling with partners Olin and Stena Recycling.

Ørsted and Vestas have been leading the renewable energy industry towards a sustainable build-out of wind energy, while increasing scale and reducing costs.

Ørsted and Vestas claim leadership as the first renewable energy developer and manufacturer, respectively, to have validated 1.5 ºC-aligned science-based targets for decarbonisation of their entire value chain. Both companies say they’ve implemented industry-leading programmes, helping suppliers strip carbon from their operations.


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