Circular economy in the wind energy sector
Last Wednesday, May 10th,Ecocuadrado attended the seminars organized by the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE).
From the outset, in the opening, the heads of AEE and Iberdrola stressed the importance of the Spanish wind farm’s lifespan and how it will be affected in case of its extension, which will delay its dismantling or replacement. They indicated that 80-90% of wind farms are recyclable. And that we are currently in the moment to experiment and innovate, since the sooner it is started, the sooner an optimal solution will come. (Instead of finding this optimum when dismantling has already begun).
From COTEC the concept of circular economy was introduced. The exorbitant pace of current consumption and the need for the transition to the circular economy in all sectors were shown. It was clarified that this concept does not only involves the waste sector, but it has to be a systemic approach.
The head of the CDTI (Center for Industrial Technological Development) emphasized the transversality of the circular economy and the importance that Europe gives the different subsidy programs, in addition to the CDTI innovation grants. She also gave great importance to the role played by regions and municipalities that have signed up for circularization.
On the next session, different initiatives of sustainability platforms that are being carried out from the European wind association (windeurope) were shown. He noted that circularity in this sector is something that already exists, since many parts of the turbine are reused in other sectors, but there is still room for improvement.
Then the Liftra Group and REDENA rep followed. She gave the group’s vision about the present industry, and how it is evolving towards dismantling. Different alternatives where proposed: lifespan extension, and re-powering at different levels.
About blades’ recycling, the agent of Siemens Gamesa displayed the innovation project they have developed, RECYBLABLE. In this project they have created solid panels used in concrete prefabs, such as a thermal and noise insulator. This is included in their group’s project “Zero Landfill”, which includes a decarbonisation plan in all their plants.
After the lunch, different companies exhibited specific projects that are, have been or will be set up.
From Vestas (Denmark), they started recycling the blades as construction material and “furniture” designing (for offices, residential and urban spaces) because of its resistance and great properties, a clear-cut case of creativity and innovation.
Siemens Gamesa set in their Project GENVIND the objective of showing that different mill parts can be re-used and recycled. Thus they performed various trials obtaining products such as recycled trays of recuperated fibers, or its inclusion into construction materials.
The Iberdrola representative and responsible of the project LIFE + BRIO, who showed the improvements they have obtained. The recuperation rate obtained reaches 95% of all materials from blades, and its inclusion in construction materials, like concrete rooms and blocks for separate roads. The importance of the creation of a legislative framework that facilitates this circularitywas also highlighted.
The last of the projects, FiberEUse, from Tecnalia, that will be started at the end of the current year, pretends the carbon fibers recuperation the longest possible, due to its mechanical properties are higher.
At the end of the day, a really interesting debate took place, in which were discussed issues such as the importance of the local administrations to push up innovation and circularity; the creation of a continuous and homogeneous materials market; processes standardization; and the importance of the Spanish market due to its great capability in this sector.
It was a really enlightening day for everyone, showing that this sector is getting ready for the future towards a Circular Economy.
Thank you so much to the organization.
See you in the next one!