Recyclable blades to be made in Ireland -- Three way venture with Mitsubishi

Recyclable wind turbine blades are to be developed in Ireland under a co-operation agreement between new Irish company Gaoth Tec Teo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and American company Cyclics Corporation. Gaoth Tec is a sister company to Irish Composites and the Composites Testing Laboratory, based in Galway. All three companies receive support from an Irish government agency, Údarás Na Gaeltachta.

Under the agreement, thermoplastic composite blades are to be developed for large scale wind installations at Gaoth Tec's manufacturing facility at Carraroe in Galway. They will be made using Cyclics' CBT resin which, unlike most materials used for wind turbine blades, can be recycled. Moreover, according to Gaoth Tec, the ability to re-use the average 19 tonnes of blade materials of each turbine at the end of its useful life is unprecedented in the industry. The development improves the environmental benefits and sustainability of wind power, the company points out, and puts the company ahead of any future ban on materials more commonly used.

The first phase of the project involves development of a series of small 12.6 metre blades in Galway. Mitsubishi is to provide the engineering data for the blade design and will test the blades at its Nagasaki facility. The project is being funded by a EUR 374,000 grant from government agency Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and is co-financed by private investment raised with help from Ernst & Young.

Gaoth Tec's Conchúr Ó Brádaigh says once the development phase is over and the materials are tested and proven, the company will produce full scale blades.