Siemens Gamesa launches recyclable wind turbine blades - a 'milestone' in renewable energy

The new materials can create products like suitcases or flat-screen casings without the need to call on more raw resources.
Deena Theresa
Siemens Gamesa is actively focusing on becoming carbon positive.
Siemens Gamesa is actively focusing on becoming carbon positive.

Siemens Gamesa 

Siemens Gamesa has launched its RecyclableBlade for onshore wind power projects, right on the heels of setting up the world's first offshore wind turbine with recyclable blades in Germany in August.

According to a company release, the "milestone" is set to propel the activities that could make wind energy more sustainable, creating a fully circular sector.

The Siemens Gamesa RecyclableBlade for offshore was brought to market in only 10 months: launched in September 2021 and installed at RWE’s Kaskasi project in Germany in July 2022. Customers can now employ the onshore solution at their wind sites.

"Launching our RecyclableBlade for onshore sites is another outstanding achievement from our dedicated professionals. The concept was always foreseen to encompass solutions for offshore and onshore, and we’re pleased to now provide them commercially to our customers in both market segments," Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens Gamesa, said in the statement.

However, the company has not yet said which sizes the recyclable onshore blades will be available in or when, nor how many recyclable onshore blades it’s produced so far.

The recycled material can be used in construction, consumer goods

Before the launch of Siemens Gamesa’s RecyclableBlade in 2021, blade recyclability was a difficult problem for the wind industry to solve. The complex production process for blades, involving composite materials including resin, glass, and carbon fibers, made disposal at the end of the wind turbine’s lifecycle challenging. As per reports, only around 85 percent of a wind turbine could be fully recycled, and many blades were sent to the landfill upon decommissioning.

The RecyclableBlade recovery process uses a mild acidic solution to separate the materials at the end of the wind turbine’s lifetime. Those materials can then be recycled for use in other industrial applications like construction, consumer goods, or the automotive industry.

The company's announcement is another feather in its hat. Siemens Gamesa continues to actively work toward its Sustainability Vision, where a "core target" is fully recyclable wind turbines by 2040 at the latest.

"We are driving the wind industry towards full circularity with our commitment to make wind power as sustainable as it can be at every stage of its lifetime. Together with our customers and our suppliers, we want wind power solutions from Siemens Gamesa to continue to help countries around the world meet their net-zero carbon emission goals," said Tim Dawidowsky, Siemens Gamesa COO and Chief Sustainability Officer.

Calling for a Europe-wide ban on the landfill for blades

Siemens Gamesa is also working with industry body WindEurope and other major industry players in calling for a Europe-wide ban on blades ending up in the landfill.

The RecyclableBlade technology was developed in Aalborg, Denmark, the blades were manufactured in Hull, UK, and the nacelles were produced in and installed from Cuxhaven, Germany.

"RecyclableBlade technology will help reduce raw material extraction by creating the potential for secondary markets for the reclaimed material, with the job creation that this could provide as an additional benefit in local markets," said Marc Becker, CEO of the Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit.

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