Vattenfall commits to immediate wind turbine blade landfill ban

Swedish developer commits to recycling all blades by 2030 with interim 2025 target of recycling half of turbine blades

Vattenfall dismantled the 10MW Yttre Stengrund offshore wind farm in Sweden in 2016
Vattenfall dismantled the 10MW Yttre Stengrund offshore wind farm in Sweden in 2016

Swedish developer Vattenfall has announced it will immediately ban the landfilling of end-of-life wind turbine blades while committing to recycle half of them by 2025 and all of them by 2030.

As part of its declared ambition to reduce the environmental impacts of its activities, Vattenfall stated that it will re-use, recycle or recover all wind turbine blades from the projects it owns.

It will also aim to recycle all decommissioned turbine blades from its wind farms by 2030, with an interim target of recycling 50% by 2025.

“It is no longer acceptable for composite waste from the wind industry to be placed in landfills, even though specific country legislation allows for this,” said Eva Philipp, head of environment and sustainability in Vattenfall’s wind business area.

European industry group WindEurope called in June for a Europe-wide ban on the landfilling of turbine blades, arguing this would accelerate the development of sustainable recycling technologies.

“Achieving 50% recycling by 2025 and 100% by 2030 is a big challenge,” said Vattenfall’s Philipp. “Solutions to tackle this challenge do not exist at a large-scale today, so significant efforts are needed to reach this long-term goal.”

She added that Vattenfall would engage in research initiatives to advance recycling technologies, especially on material recycling of composite waste.

In the long-term, the company will focus on all aspects of the circular economy, such as supporting the recyclability of wind blades by design, which increases the value of the recycled material at end of life. 

In a separate announcement, Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas said it would aim to have fully recyclable wind turbine blades by 2030. The company had previously become the first turbine manufacturer to announce plans to eliminate non-recyclable waste from the manufacturing, operation and decommissioning of its wind turbines by 2040.

Last month, Siemens Gamesa announced it had produced its first fully recyclable offshore wind turbine blades.

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