With the first generation of wind turbines well into a period of decommissioning, questions about what to do with the massive fiberglass blades is a pressing one for an industry that markets itself as green and sustainable.
While indeed no fossil fuels need be burned to generate electricity with wind turbines, the mounting landfill burden of the blades which are not recyclable is projected to climb to over 40 million tons of fiberglass over the next 20 years.
Some companies though are changing the angle of approach of the problem from how to recycle the blades into raw materials to simply moving them onto other uses—and the company REGEN Fiber, owned by the trucking company Tavero, sees their future as additives in concrete and asphalt.
The primary end-product is a top-performing reinforcement fiber that increases the strength and overall durability of concrete and mortar applications such as pavement, slabs-on-grade, and precast products. The company also produces microfibers and additives from components of the wind blade for use in a range of composite, concrete, and soil stabilization applications.
By preventing decommissioned wind turbine blades from ending up in landfills or releasing combustion byproducts, such as carbon, to the atmosphere if burned, REGEN Fiber’s new and sustainable solution is helping to solve the wind industry’s growing challenge of finding environmentally friendly ways for disposing of wind turbine components.
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