Wind Turbine Blades Are Getting A "Second Wind".
Anyone who has driven through Texas, California, Kansas, South Dakota, or almost any state with rural land and lots of wind has seen a large number of wind turbines. These turbines all have one thing in common, three blades.
According to EcoWatch, when wind turbine blades reach the end of their usefulness, most are sawed into transportable pieces and hauled to landfills, where they never break down. Because of the resources and energy that go into producing these blades, this type of disposal is inefficient and wasteful. Recently, several innovative companies have begun brainstorming better ways to repurpose this green technology after it goes offline.
Washington-based Global Fiberglass Solutions (GFS) believes itself to be the first U.S.-based company to commercially recycle fiberglass wind turbine blades, a 2019 Plastics Recycling Update report noted. NPR reports that GFS grinds up discarded blades, which are then used for decking materials, pallets, and piping.
Utility Dive recently reported that GE announced its partnership with Veolia to recycle US wind turbine blades. According to the article on Utiility Dive, Veolia would process the blades with a cement kiln co-processing technology for use as a raw material, creating "greener cement," quoting Bob Cappadona, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Veolia North America's Environmental Solutions and Services. Almost 90% of the blade material, primarily fiberglass, will be repurposed for cement production, shredded at Veolia's processing facility in Missouri and used at manufacturing facilities across the country.
Another innovative use for retired wind turbine blades was reported by EcoWatch. According to the article, in Ireland, an experimental blades-to-bridges program run by Re-Wind is reimagining decommissioned blades into bicycle and pedestrian bridges, transmission towers and other civil engineering structures. The blade pieces are strong enough to replace steel girders in construction because the technology is built to withstand intense pressure and wind speeds.
Re-Wind is brainstorming other novel uses for the scrap blades, from serving as artificial reefs to highway noise barriers. The company is also considering cutting up the durable material to create affordable housing that can withstand extreme weather.
Wind turbine blades soon will be getting a "second wind" keeping them out of the landfills. This will be great for the wind industry's image and our environment.
I spent well over a decade working in Wind Energy prior to attending law school and founding the Morgan Legal Group. Many of my family members and friends still work in sustainable energy. The Morgan Legal Group supports sustainable energy and fights for sustainable energy workers to ensure that sustainable energy is sustainable for everyone—including those who work in the industry.
If you were injured while working at a wind farm, you need an experienced advocate to fight for justice for you. I understand the complexities of working at a wind farm and will use my experience to fight for you. If you need help, contact the Morgan Legal Group for a free case consultation and plan for how I would advocate for you.