Disposal problem of wind turbines: What should you do with all the old rotor blades?

Disposal problem of wind turbines: What should you do with all the old rotor blades?

Disposal problem of wind turbines: What should you do with all the old rotor blades?

The graphic is reminiscent of the height profile of a stage of the Tour de France: first a long flat section with a few bumps, a crisp ascent, an intermediate descent and finally the big mountain before the finish. Looks challenging. And that’s the stage too – although it has nothing to do with racing bikes. The line shows: the number of wind turbines due for disposal over the years.

2019 marks the end of the flat section, the end of comfort or “risks for people and the environment”, as the Federal Environment Agency puts it.

In the first half of the twenties, the first generation of wind turbines reached the end of their service life. Large parts of the buildings can be easily recycled. Not so with the rotor blades. To operate, they have to be very resilient and as light as possible. Two materials combine these properties. Plastic, reinforced with glass fibers (GRP) or carbon (CFRP), materials that aircraft and automobile manufacturers also rely on.

Predicted amount of rotor blades to be disposed of in Germany Source: Fraunhofer / TH Nürnberg