GE Commits to Zero-Waste Wind Rotors
LM Wind Power claims it will “reuse, repurpose, recycle or recover all the excess materials from manufacturing of blades,” while working with supplier to prevent waste in blade manufacturing.
LM Wind Power made a commitment to achieve “zero waste” production of rotor blades by 2030. The GE Renewable Energy’s subsidiary achieved carbon-neutrality for its 13 manufacturing plants in 2018, and now claims it will “reuse, repurpose, recycle or recover all the excess materials from manufacturing of blades,” while working with supplier to prevent waste in blade manufacturing.
General Electric paid $1.65 billion for the Danish manufacturer in 2017. The company designs and produces rotor blades for wind-power projects at plants in Denmark, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Poland, Spain, and the U.S. It claims to have produced more than 185,000 blades (approximately 77 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity) since 1978.
Now, LM Wind Power states that its manufacturing operations will support customers by developing “fully circular wind turbines” that generate less waste during their production. Its vision of zero-waste blades will mean no excess manufacturing materials and packaging are landfilled or incinerated without energy recovery by 2030.
Currently, LM Wind Power states that nearly one third of its operational carbon footprint comes from waste disposal.
In the wind-energy sector, 20-25% of the materials purchased by turbine blade manufacturers are not incorporated into the finished product, and according to LM Wind Power blade manufacturing waste volumes will exceed decommissioned blade volumes during the coming decade. In the lifecycle of wind-turbine blades, around 75% of CO2 emissions occur in the supply chain, it noted.
In September, LM Wind Power joined the Zero Waste Blade Research consortium working to develop 100% recyclable wind-turbine blades. It’s also part of a separate effort, with partners, to establish sustainable, large-scale solutions to recycle decommissioned blades.
“We have a track-record of working with our partners to address our most pressing challenges. Our technology has played a crucial role in making wind power one of the most competitive sources of electricity,” stated Olivier Fontan, CEO of LM Wind Power. “Now the focus has evolved from making wind power not only competitive, but also making the industry sustainable. It is not one or the other but both. We are determined to work with our partners to reduce the carbon footprint of wind turbines; together we can be the example of how an industry transforms its value chain to support the green transition and the critical move to a circular economy. Zero waste blades are our contribution to this industry mission.”