GE Renewable Energy, LafargeHolcim Look to Give Turbines a Second Wind

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GE Renewable Energy and LafargeHolcim have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore circular economy solutions to utilize materials from decommissioned wind turbines. 

Building on LafargeHolcim’s 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.

“This is a truly exciting next step in our journey to introduce new circular lifecycle improvements for the wind industry,” says Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy. “We are delighted to work with LafargeHolcim on these critical projects, which will help to improve the sustainability of wind power now and well into the future.”

With its research and development team, LafargeHolcim is exploring how wind turbine blades can be turned into sustainable construction materials – building 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, a 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 10 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 10 GW 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.

Photo: A GE wind turbine in Germany

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