Spanish supplier Acciona Energia has decided to utilize wind turbine blades, which are troublesome in recycling and decomposition, as brackets for solar panels.
Wind turbine blades are primarily made with glass fibers, and the composition varies according to each manufacturer, but most of them are composite materials, with some being reinforced fibers. However, composite materials are difficult in recycling, and materials for wind turbine blades are even harder to recycle due to their thermosetting resin, which would form robust cross-linked polymers that fixate fibers at a certain location. This is why the recycling of materials for wind turbine blade has been a tricky issue for the wind power industry.
A supplier has proposed a new solution, which applies recycled wind turbine blades directly on renewable solar energy. Acciona Energia disclosed that the company is currently utilizing glass fibers contained within decommissioned wind turbine blades as torsion beams for horizontal solar panels. The research team first crushed the glass fibers within decommissioned wind turbine blades to micron grade through the micronizing process, where the powder, as claimed by Acciona Energia, is extensive in applications, and can be used as a raw material for new products.
The research team also used the glass fiber powder as a filler, which can be applied on models and made into equipment of any shapes and lengths, after being combined and heated with resin and reinforced fibers.
Acciona Energia is currently testing the installation results of the Extremadura I-II-III solar power plants in Badajoz, Spain. Asun Padrós, Manager of Innovation Projects at Acciona Energia, also revealed that the company will be offering new commercial solutions in the future.
(Cover photo source: unsplash)