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Polish e-scrap major has wind at its back

Wind Turbine Recycling is the latest business division launched by Poland’s Elektrorecykling Group. The company has achieved a significant breakthrough in the processing of blades from used or damaged wind turbines. WTR is poised to lead the way in sustainable solutions for recycling this difficult material.

An increasing number of companies are begin- ning to explore recycling wind turbine blades through a range of techniques, spanning from mechanical to chemical recycling methods. WTR has also embraced this challenge but its comprehensive approach to the issue sets it apart from other recyclers.

Complex materials

WTR’s ceo Kamila Glinka does not like constrained thinking, especially when it comes to recycling. Her attitude encourages expansive and innovative ideas to drive the recycling industry forward and seek unconventional solutions. ‘Wind turbine blades pose a unique challenge in recycling, standing out as one of the most complex materials to work with,’ she says. ‘The difficulty arises not only from their substantial size but also from the materials used in their production.’

Glinka describes WTR’s approach as ‘holistic’, encompassing everything from processing to various application concepts. ‘Our strategy includes the development of an innovative product that boasts a significantly smaller car- bon footprint.’

Test results

The company has successfully concluded a series of tests, culminating in the creation of an innovative technology for producing concrete from a unique composition including glass fibre and resin. What sets it apart and makes it exceptional? Glinka explains: ‘The estimated carbon footprint of our concrete product stands at approximately 45 kg of CO2 per tonne. In contrast, traditional concrete typically exhibits a carbon footprint within the range of 112 to 354 kg of CO2 per tonne.

Concrete producers are actively striving to reduce the carbon footprint by incorporating substitutes like ash, blast furnace slag, and sand, while also minimising the use of Portland cement.

‘The increasing interest in these substitutes, particularly blast furnace slag or fly ash, stems from their lower environmental impact. The concrete that WTR has developed takes this a step further and holds the potential to be a groundbreaking advance in the industry, offering an even more eco-friendly and sustainable solution.’

Seeking partners

WTR is obtaining environmental permits for a recycling facility for wind turbines near the Polish-German border and the company is looking for partners to support the EUR 8 mil- lion investment. Meanwhile the project’s design is ready for implementation.

WTR is already well-equipped to handle wind turbine blade processing at Elektrorecykling’s plant in Sękowo while build- ing a network of partners across Europe interested in supplying dismantled and cut turbine blades. WTR is also on the lookout for partners keen on distributing its innovative concrete and pre- cast concrete elements. At present, it is active- ly involved in an additional research and devel- opment project.

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