The cement firm LafargeHolcim has teamed up with GE’s renewables unit and struck an agreement to explore the recycling of wind turbine blades. The aim of this “memorandum of understanding” is to reuse materials from decommissioned wind turbines, including the difficult-to-recycle blades. The companies plan to research new ways to convert the blades into sustainable construction materials. The blades can also be used to build new wind farms, for example. In addition, the companies hope that their partnership will help to introduce new circular lifecycle improvements for the wind industry. GE Renewable Energy and Holcim announced today an MOU to explore circular economy solutions to utilize materials from decommissioned wind turbines. Building on Holcim’s 10+ years of experience in recovering energy from wind turbine blades, the companies are exploring new ways of recycling wind blades, including as a construction material to build new wind farms. Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy said, “This is a truly exciting next step in our journey to introduce new circular lifecycle improvements for the wind industry. We are delighted to work with Holcim on these critical projects, which will help to improve the sustainability of wind power now and well into the future.” Edelio Bermejo, Head of Holcim’s Global Innovation Center said: “With sustainability at the core of our strategy, accelerating renewable energy and the circular economy are top priorities for our business. I’m very excited about this collaboration with GE Renewable Energy because it meets both goals at once.” With its Research & Development team, Holcim is exploring how wind turbine blades can be turned into sustainable construction materials. This research builds on the company’s work, under its Geocycle brand, to recover energy from GE’s decommissioned turbine blades after they have been removed from the turbine and shredded. Geocycle currently offers co-processing solutions for wind blades in Germany and will evaluate the possibility of extending this solution to other parts of Europe. This next phase continues the collaboration between these two companies, following the 2020 announcement to co-develop wind turbine towers at record heights using concrete 3D-printing together with COBOD, the Danish 3D printing start-up. Since the start of that collaboration, wind turbine tower prototypes have been developed using concrete 3D printing technology that is stronger, more efficient, and can be built ten times faster than before. This announcement is a key next step in both partners’ focus on circular solutions—especially for the European market— at a time when the European Commission has adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan, one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal. Nearly 10GW of aging turbines in Europe are expected to be repowered or decommissioned by 2025. GE Renewable Energy is committed to bringing circular lifecycle solutions to the market through strategic technology developments and has recently announced a number of key agreements and partnerships. As part of it net zero journey, Holcim is actively driving the circular economy to build more with less. As a world leader in recycling, Holcim recycled 46 million tons of materials across its business in 2020 and is on its way to 100 million tons by 2030.
Cement firm helps with wind turbine recycling