GE’s LM Wind Power has announced that it will produce zero waste blades by 2030, a significant step forward for the industry’s circular wind turbine ambitions.
LM Wind Power already holds the record for becoming the first carbon neutral business in the wind industry in 2018.
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According to the GE press release, waste from manufacturing represents one of the biggest challenges faced by many industries as they seek to reduce their carbon footprint.
Take the wind industry for instance: Around 20-25% of the materials purchased by wind turbine blade manufacturers do not go into the final product, and research indicates that blade manufacturing waste volumes are expected to be larger than decommissioned blade volumes during the coming decade.
For wind turbine and blade manufacturers alike, the key to reducing the product carbon footprint lies in the supply chain. In the blade life cycle, around 75% of CO2 emissions occur in the supply chain.
LM Wind Power’s vision of zero waste blades is all about sending no excess manufacturing materials and packaging to landfill and incineration without energy recovery by 2030.
At present, nearly one third of its operational carbon footprint comes from waste disposal.
“We have a track-record of working with our partners to address our most pressing challenges,” notes LM Wind Power CEO Olivier Fontan.
“Our technology has played a crucial role in making wind power one of the most competitive sources of electricity.”
“Now the focus has evolved from making wind power not only competitive, but also making the industry sustainable. It is not one or the other but both.”
“We are determined to work with our partners to reduce the carbon footprint of wind turbines; together we can be the example of how an industry transforms its value chain to support the green transition and the critical move to a circular economy. Zero waste blades are our contribution to this industry mission.”
While blade manufacturing waste prevention and recycling will be a major focus for the company, LM Wind Power is also working with partners to establish sustainable, large-scale solutions to recycle decommissioned blades through the DecomBlades project.
The company is further working on the development of next generation blades that can be more easily recycled through the ZEBRA (Zero Waste Blade Research) project.
Image and content: LM Wind Power/GE Renewable Energy