Wind energy is a key pillar in our renewable energy future, but even green technologies have some drawbacks. EV batteries need to eventually be recycled and wind turbines can interfere with bird populations and produce waste as well. In an effort to address one of these critical issues, wind turbine maker Vestas announced a new technology that allows their turbines to be fully recycled, waste-free.
Traditional blades are made by heating a mix of glass or carbon fibers and sticky epoxy resin, forming a strong, but permanently connected composite. The new technology allows this composite mixture to be separated back into independent materials at the end of the turbine’s life, effectively providing virgin materials with which to construct new blades.
Wind turbines are on track to account for 43 million tonnes of waste in 2050, so technology like this is important for curbing these byproducts. Vestas collaborated with manufacturer Olin, the Danish Technological Institute, Denmark’s Aarhus University, and independent research groups to produce the new method.
Moving forwards, the company plans to use the technology in their own designs and promote it within the wind energy sector. They also plan to expand and apply their technique to the airplane and car components as well.