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RWE tests recyclable wind turbine blade

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Energy Global,

A sustainable product celebrates its German premiere at RWE's Kaskasi offshore wind farm: Siemens Gamesa and RWE are committed to installing a select number of wind turbines with recyclable blades off the coast of Heligoland. The 81 m long blades are some of the first of their kind, and will enable the recycling of the composite parts into new products at the end of their lifecycle, helping to pave the way towards the full recyclability of wind turbines. For RWE, Kaskasi will be instrumental in testing the world’s first recyclable blade under operational conditions from 2022 onwards.

Many components of a wind turbine, such as the tower and nacelle components, already have established recycling practices. Until now, the composite materials used in wind turbine blades have been more challenging to recycle because a resin system binds all components together. In its recyclable blade Siemens Gamesa is using a new resin type, with a chemical structure that makes it possible to efficiently separate the resin from other components. The process protects the properties of the materials and so allows them to be reused in new casting applications, for example in the automotive industry, or in consumer goods such as flight cases and flatscreen casings.

At its 342 MW wind farm Kaskasi, RWE will install special collars around three monopile foundations. The steel collars are designed based on a company patent and will be installed at seabed level. The space between collar and monopile foundation will be filled with grout material to create a stable connection. RWE will carry out accompanying tests to verify that the collar improves the structural behaviour in comparison with standard monopiles.

Furthermore Kaskasi will be one of the first commercial offshore wind farms in the world to use an improved installation method for driving the wind turbine foundations into the seabed to their target penetration depth. In comparison to conventional hammering techniques the innovative vibro pile driving method will significantly speed up the process of installing the foundations, has a gentler impact on the structure while producing far less noise, and reduces impacts on the maritime environment. The pilot project at Kaskasi is accompanied by a comprehensive research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs.

Kaskasi offshore wind farm is to be constructed 35 km north of the island of Heligoland. Once all 38 wind turbines are fully operational at the end of 2022, Kaskasi offshore wind farm will supply the equivalent of approximately 400 000 households with green electricity.



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