Turbine Recycling Advancements

The wind industry is facing the growing challenge of finding ways to dispose of turbine parts. Nearly 85% of turbine components — steel, copper wire, electronics — can be reused and repurposed, according to Bloomberg Green, but there’s always been the dilemma about what to do with the difficult-to-transport and tough-to-recycle fiberglass blades.

Wind turbines are built to last between 20 and 25 years, and an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 blades annually are expected to reach the end of their life span between 2025 and 2040, according to NREL.

In response to long-standing concerns about turbine blades ending up buried in landfills, an Iowa business created an innovative, patent-pending and eco-friendly recycling process that converts decommissioned turbine blades into reusable materials.

REGEN Fiber’s end product is a reinforcement fiber that increases the strength and durability of concrete and mortar applications, such as pavement and precast products. According to a recent press release, once commercial-scale recycling operations reach full production (expected to happen in the last half of 2023), REGEN Fiber anticipates recycling more than 30,000 tons of shredded blade materials per year.

CCL reports on energy innovations at Colorado’s electric cooperatives and beyond. Want to know more? Check out this article about more innovations in electric service.