Wind Turbine Recycling Solved. So Climate Deniers Can Stop it with the Phony Tears.

February 15, 2023

Ok, so, I’ll play along, for a moment, with the insufferable bullshitters who’ve never given a rat’s ass about recycling or a circular economy or, really. life on the planet or anything else, but are suddenly so deeply concerned about those terrible wind turbine blades that have been landfilled in Wyoming or wherever.
But first, some context.

Tons of chemically benign and inert wind turbine blades projected to reach end of life in 2025 – 25,000 tons (see below)

Tons of toxic coal ash, containing lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and a toxic brew of combustion products, including radioactive elements, produced every year globally, 90 percent of which is in giant leaking piles contaminating ground and surface waters in perpetuity, or until above mentioned bullshitters grow a conscience and start caring – 500 million tons 

So, in the space of a couple of decades, the wind turbine industry has set to work to solve their problem, if it ever was one, and now they’ve done so. Meanwhile, the coal industry, and the crocodile-tear phonies rending their garments about wind turbines never gave a damn, and don’t give a damn now, about a problem that’s literally 20,000 times larger


Wind turbines face an unsustainable dilemma: after decades of producing renewable energy, their seemingly indestructible blades often end up in garbage dumps, left to remain for years. 

Now, Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest producer of wind turbines, says it has developed a chemical solution that allows the blades — made with durable epoxy resin — to be broken down and recycled. 

“This signals a new era for the wind industry,” Vestas said in a statement. If it’s implemented at scale, the technology can be used on both old blades sitting in landfills and those in active wind farms, the company added. 

It’s a potential solution for what could be a massive sustainability problem for the wind industry. Industry body Wind Europe has previously estimated that about 25,000 metric tons of blades a year will be decommissioned by 2025, rising to 52,000 tons a year by 2030. The group has called on European authorities to ban blades from going into landfills.

Separately, Siemens Energy AG’s turbine unit has developed a blade using alternative materials that could be recycled. However, they would only be potentially recycled when they’re eventually decommissioned and don’t solve the existing waste issue. 

Vestas’s process is the result of joint initiative including Denmark’s Aarhus University and US-based Olin Corp. The company now plans to move it from the lab to a pilot project for two years, before rolling it out on a commercial scale. Its cost hasn’t been disclosed. 


The newly discovered chemical process shows that epoxy-based turbine blades, whether in operation or sitting in landfill, can be turned into a source of raw material to potentially build new turbine blades. As the chemical process relies on widely available chemicals, it is highly compatible for industrialisation, and can therefore be scaled up quickly. This innovation would not have been possible without the ground-breaking CETEC collaboration between industry and academia enabling our progress until this point,” says Mie Elholm Birkbak, Specialist, Innovation & Concepts at Vestas. 

Through a newly established value chain, supported by Nordic recycling leader Stena Recycling and global epoxy manufacturer Olin, Vestas will now focus on scaling up the novel chemical disassembly process into a commercial solution. Once mature, the solution will signal the beginning of a circular economy for all existing, and future epoxy-based turbine blades. 

“As the leading customer solution provider of innovative epoxy systems, Olin is proud to support the anticipated massive expansion in wind energy worldwide. By utilising unique technologies, together with our partners, we are ready to recover molecules and convert them into new epoxies that can be re-used in wind turbine blades. We are excited to bring our expertise and unique asset footprint to this partnership, and realize breakthrough sustainable material solutions for existing wind blades and those of the future”, says Verghese Thomas, Vice President, Epoxy Systems and Growth Platforms at Olin.

“In the coming years, thousands of turbines will be decommissioned or repowered, representing a major sustainability challenge but also a valuable source of composite materials. As one of Europe’s leading recycling groups with a wide footprint in Europe, we have a central role in the transition to a circular economy. We see this solution as a huge opportunity to take part in making a sustainable solution even more sustainable and circular and are ready to apply our chemical recycling expertise and knowledge to this process”, says Henrik Grand Petersen, MD Stena Recycling Denmark.


3 Responses to “Wind Turbine Recycling Solved. So Climate Deniers Can Stop it with the Phony Tears.”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Yeah, but wind turbines -cough- muss up my -cough- view. We didn’t -cough-cough- have that problem with -cough-cough-haaack-cough- traditional forms of -cough- electricity generation.

  2. John Oneill Says:

    25,000 tons of junked turbine blades per year. Nuclear makes about 11,000 tons of spent fuel per year – for about twice as much power generation. Is the nuclear waste worse ? It’s far more compact – enough power to run a city of a million for a year fits in roughly one cask, about the size the bottom twenty feet of a wind turbine tower. Like the turbine blades, the ‘spent’ fuel can also be reused – it will sit there till someone builds a fast reactor to extract the remaining 90% of the energy.

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