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Iberdrola establishes a company focusing on recycling wind turbine blades

Wind turbine blades photographed somewhere in Denmark. The question of what to do with knives when they are no longer needed is a headache for the industry.

Jonathanfilskov Photography | Istock | Getty pictures

The Spanish energy company Iberdrola has jointly established a company that will recycle components used in renewable energy installations, including wind turbine blades.

In a statement last week, Iberdrola said the company, known as EnergyLOOP, would develop a blade recycling plant in Navarre, northern Spain.

“The first goal will be the recycling of wind turbine blade components ̵[ads1]1; mostly glass and carbon fiber and resin – and their reuse in sectors such as energy, aerospace, the automotive industry, textiles, chemicals and construction,” the company said.

EnergyLOOP has been launched by Iberdrola via PERSEO – its “international start-up program” – and the FCC Ámbito. The latter is a subsidiary of FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente.

Iberdrola said that EnergyLOOP will also have support from Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, a major player in the production of wind turbines.

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The question of what to do with wind turbine blades when they are no longer needed is a headache for the industry. This is because the composite materials the leaves are made of can prove to be difficult to recycle, which means that many end up in landfills when their life is over.

As the amount of wind turbines used increases, the topic seems to become even more urgent. Iberdrola said it was estimated that approximately 5,700 wind turbines would be dismantled in Europe each year by 2030.

Iberdrola is one of several companies looking at the potential of recycling and reusing wind turbine blades, a goal that contributes to the idea of ​​creating a circular economy.

The concept has gained traction in recent years, with many companies now wanting to operate in ways that minimize waste and encourage reuse.

In September 2021, for example, Siemens Gamesa announced that it had launched a recyclable wind turbine blade, and the company claimed that their Recyclable Blades were “the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades ready for commercial offshore use.”

A few months earlier, in June 2021, Danish Ørsted said that they would “reuse, recycle or recycle” all turbine blades in their worldwide portfolio of wind farms when they are taken out of operation.

In June, General Electric’s renewable energy unit and cement manufacturer Holcim also entered into an agreement to explore the recycling of wind turbine blades.

In January 2020, another wind energy giant, Vestas, said it aimed to produce “zero waste” turbines by 2040.

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