EDP Renewables (EDPR) has announced a cooperation agreement with Thermal Recycling of Composites (TRC) – a spin-off of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, or CSIC) – for the implementation of a wind turbine blade recycling program and the launch of the new R3FIBER system.
The pilot initiative will apply to faulty or damaged wind turbine blades that need to be replaced and, in the future, blades from EDPR wind farms that have reached the end of their life cycle. According to the companies, of all Spanish wind farms, 60% are more than 15 years old.
The R3FIBER technology was developed by TRC and a team at CSIC’s National Center for Metallurgical Research, led by Félix López Gomez. The technology is based on fully using materials without producing waste through a process of thermochemical transformation, which converts the resins of combustible gases and liquid fuels into glass or carbon fibers that can then be reused. If the blades contain carbon fibers, there are no limitations on the use of composites or on the management of the material because the technology is applicable to components made from both fiberglass and carbon fiber, the companies explain.
The R3FIBER technology fully harnesses mass, energy and the reuse of materials. It is also sustainable because it does not generate waste and efficient because it allows for maximum energy recovery, the partners say. CSIC touts itself as the largest public research institution in Spain and the third largest in Europe.