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Recycling of wind turbine blades still a distant prospect

A new collaboration between Aarhus University, the Danish Technological Institute as well as companies Olin and Vestas aims to develop a new chemical solution for turbine blade production, so they can be recycled in the future. However, the new technology will not be usable for existing blades.

The image of wind turbine blades at landfills has tarnished the industry's reputation, but a new project now aims to develop a recyclable blade type. | Photo: Miljøskærm

The blades of wind turbines cast shadows not only on the ground on which they stand but far into the future as well, where great landfills filled with blades, like glass-fiber and epoxy bones in a grave, have been highlighted by opponents as the dark side of renewable energy.

"Blades are built for strength and durability. They must withstand storms, snow and sunlight for 20-30 years. This makes it practically impossible to disassemble the blades and regain value from them. Meaning it's the intrinsic properties of the blades that make them so difficult to recycle," says Allan Korsgaard Poulsen, head of Advanced Structures and Sustainability at Vestas.

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