Europe’s wind-power industry is calling for an end to one of the dirtiest parts of its business.
Countries across Europe should ban old turbine blades from going into landfills by the middle of the decade, industry group Wind Europe said Wednesday.
While wind power is helping to cut emissions, the turbines can become a source of waste. Most parts of the structures – such as the steel towers and rotors – can be recycled, but not the blades, which comprise glass or carbon fibers and a sticky resin that can’t currently be broken down and reused. They tend to end up in landfills once a wind farm is decommissioned, usually after 20 to 25 years of use.
In Europe, about 25,000 tons of blades a year will be decommissioned by 2025, rising to 52,000 tons a year by 2030, the industry group said in a statement.
Wind Europe called on the European Commission to ban decommissioned turbine blades from going to landfills by 2025, hoping to fuel efforts to redesign blades to make them recyclable. It also committed not to ship blades to landfills outside the European Union.
The region’s largest turbine maker, Vestas Wind Systems A/S, has come up with an epoxy that could dissolve and be processed back into the original chemical compounds, making blades recyclable. It’s working with epoxy maker Olin Corp. as well as the Danish Technological Institute and Aarhus University to design a way to commercialize the product in the next three years.
© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.