Vestas, the leading wind energy solutions provider, has introduced a new solution that makes epoxy-based turbine blades circular and eliminates the need for redesigning the blade material. The solution combines the chemical technology developed by CETEC, a coalition of industry and academia, and partnerships with Olin and Stena Recycling. The solution can be applied to blades currently in use, as well as those in landfill, and mature blades can be disassembled and reused.
This marks a new era for the wind industry and will accelerate its journey to circularity, says Lisa Ekstrand, Vice President and Head of Sustainability at Vestas. The novel chemical process, developed with Aarhus University, Danish Technological Institute, and Olin, can chemically break down epoxy resin into virgin-grade materials. Vestas, Stena Recycling, and Olin will focus on scaling up the process into a commercial solution, creating a circular economy for existing and future epoxy-based blades.
Vestas infographic about the new circular process:
Verhese Thomas, Vice President at Olin, said, “We are excited to bring our expertise and unique asset footprint to this partnership and realize breakthrough sustainable material solutions.” Henrik Grand Petersen, MD of Stena Recycling Denmark, added, “We see this solution as a huge opportunity to make a sustainable solution even more sustainable and circular.”
With the end of the operational life of the first turbines in the most mature wind energy markets approaching, the new solution will provide Vestas with the opportunity to produce new turbine blades from reused blade material. The technology could also potentially extend to other industries beyond wind energy, making all epoxy-based composite material a source of raw material for a broader circular economy.