Energy companies help reuse obsolete wind turbines
The wind turbine blades of the obsolete wind farm Irene Vorrink are now being reused as sports equipment, building materials and components for solar parks. Energy company Vattenfall partnered with other parties to work out how the material could be given a second life.
This is the first wind farm in the Netherlands to be dismantled since Vattenfall narrowed its targets for the reuse of materials. According to the organization, it is possible to recycle most parts of the turbine, such as the foundation and the tower.
However, it is more difficult to reuse the blades, because the composites they are made from are fused together. Composites are plastics reinforced with fibers, a light but very strong material also used in the construction of aircrafts.
The more than 80 blades of the wind farm will be transported to the port in Kampen in the coming weeks. Then they will be sawn into smaller pieces, which Norwegian company Gjenkraft plans to use in the production of insulation material and sports articles such as skis.
Dutch company LIFE CarbonGreen is also investigating new possibilities for reusing the blades. Two blades will also be left intact for a regional training center (ROC), which will use them to train mechanics.
New wind turbines will be re-erected around the location of the wind farm to the north of Lelystad. These will be much more efficient and generate more power than the old turbines, according to Vattenfall.
It will likely be necessary to replace more obsolete wind turbines in the coming years. Vattenfall aims to make old blades fully recyclable by 2030. In any case, the company will not bury them, a spokesperson emphasized. Burial is a solution that is still popular in other countries.
Reporting by ANP.