Turning wind turbine blades to sustainable materials

Turning wind turbine blades to sustainable materials

Circular economy

FranceGE Renewable Energy and LafargeHolcim signed a Memorandum of Understanding to investigate circular economy solutions that make use of resources from decommissioned wind turbines.

Building on LafargeHolcim’s more than ten years of experience in recovering energy from wind turbine blades, the firms are looking into novel ways to recycle wind blades, such as using them as a construction material to create new wind farms.

From wind turbine blades to sustainable building materials

LafargeHolcim’s Research & Development team is investigating how wind turbine blades might be transformed into sustainable building materials. This research expands on the company’s previous efforts, under the Geocycle brand, to recover energy from retired GE turbine blades after they have been taken from the turbine and shredded. Geocycle now provides co-processing solutions for wind turbine blades in Germany and will consider expanding this service to other parts of Europe.

Following the 2020 announcement to co-develop wind turbine towers at record heights utilizing concrete 3D printing with COBOD, the Danish 3D printing start-up, this next phase extends the relationship between these two firms. Since the beginning of that collaboration, wind turbine tower prototypes that are stronger, more efficient, and can be produced 10 times faster than before have been produced using concrete 3D printing technology.

Focus on circular solutions

This news is a significant next step in both partners’ focus on circular solutions, particularly for the European market, and comes at a time when the European Commission has established a new Circular Economy Action Plan, one of the core pillars of the European Green Deal.

By 2025, over 10 GW of elderly wind turbines in Europe are scheduled to be re-powered or retired. GE Renewable Energy is dedicated to bringing circular lifecycle solutions to market through strategic technological advances, and has recently announced a number of major collaborations and partnerships.