Belgium: WindEurope, the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the European Composites Industry Association (EUCIA) have created a cross-sector platform to look into using glass fibres and fillers from old wind turbine blades as a raw material for cement production. Other methods, such as a mechanical recycling, solvolysis and pyrolysis, are being developed and considered.
In 2018 wind energy supplied 14% of the electricity in the European Union (EU), from 130,000 wind turbines. Wind turbines blades are made up of a composite material, which boosts the performance of wind energy by allowing lighter and longer blades. At present 2.5Mt of composite material are in use in the wind energy sector. In the next five years 12,000 wind turbines are expected to be decommissioned.
“Wind energy is an increasingly important part of Europe’s energy mix. The first generation of wind turbines are now starting to come to the end of their operational life and be replaced by modern turbines. Recycling the old blades is a top priority for us, and teaming up with the chemical and compositors industries will enable us to do it the most effective way,” said Giles Dickson, the chief executive officer (CEO) of WindEurope.