Wind power is vital for Germany’s energy transition with leaders in the renewables sector upping their game to meet demand. As part of its “Growing Green” strategy, the Essen-based international power company RWE aims to increase its offshore wind capacity from 3 to 8 GW, including North Sea projects with a capacity of 1.5 GW, and investment of EUR 15 billion into German renewables – all by 2030.
And with decarbonisation top of the agenda, each of the massive turbines deployed at the new plant are designed to be fully recyclable, including the rotor blades. There are established processes for recycling the large components of wind installations (including concrete, steel, copper and cast iron elements), but in the past the blades were too hard to recycle as their composite materials are set in resin and hard to separate.
RWE’s project partner Siemens Gamesa has developed special 81-metre long RecyclableBlades. They are formed from a novel resin whose chemical structure enables efficient recovery of the different components so that they can ultimately be reused, for example in certain consumer applications and the automotive industry.
Nine Siemens Gamesa Flex turbines have already been installed (of a planned 38), each with a capacity of just under 9 MW. "Our 6th wind farm off the German coast is taking shape, as turbines with recyclable rotor blades have started generating electricity,” says Sven Utermöhlen, CEO Offshore Wind, RWE in a press release. “Faster offshore expansion is important in order to achieve climate targets and greater energy independence.”
By the end of 2022, the windfarm will have full capacity of 342 MW to supply more than 400,000 households per year with carbon-neutral electricity.