The world’s first eighty-metre recyclable blades are in the wind, following a de-sticking solution devised by engineers at turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa.
Heligoland, off Germany’s coast, is the testing site identified for the German-Spanish firm’s patented RecycleBlade technology, developed by fabricators at the plant in Aalborg, Denmark.
With the off-shore site’s developer RWE, the manufacturers announced this week that their Danish plant had produced six 81-metre blades incorporating new resin chemistry. They will be installed on two turbines next year for structural trials.
Blades of big turbines, unlike nacelles and towers, have hitherto defied attempts by materials scientists to manufacture them so that second-life re-use or repair is possible. The new resin solves the problem.
It will permit composite components such as steel and carbon used in any blade’s aerofoil structure to be disassembled at end of life or for repair.
France’s EDF Renewables and Germany’s WPD are lined up after RWE to take advantage of the new technique, hailed by Siemens Gamesa as the world’s first.
The manufacturer’s CEO Andreas Nauen stressed re-using, repairing and recycling components would be critical as the turbine industry gears up to fight the climate emergency.
“The time to tackle climate emergency is now, and we need to do it in a holistic way,” he said.
“In pioneering wind circularity – where elements contribute to a circular economy of the wind industry – we have reached a major milestone in a society that puts care for the environment at its heart. The.”
Sven Utermöhlen, boss of RWE Renewables’ offshore wind ventures, said ‘RecycleBlades’ were just one of a number of innovations being tested at the 342MW Kaskasi wind farm off Heligoland.
“We are pleased that our offshore wind farm is able to provide a fantastic facility for testing innovations; here we are preparing to test special steel collars and to use an improved installation method for foundations,” he said.
“This is a significant step in advancing the sustainability of wind turbines to the next level.”