German renewable energy company RWE said Wednesday that 40 of the 72 offshore wind turbines at what will be Denmark's largest offshore wind farm Thor will be equipped with recyclable rotor blades.
The 40 SG 14-236 DD wind turbines will be equipped with recyclable rotor blades manufactured by Siemens Gamesa. Installation at sea is expected in 2026.
In addition, RWE is piloting CO2-reduced steel towers at half of the project’s turbines. The GreenerTower from Siemens Gamesa will ensure a CO2 reduction of at least 63 percent in the tower steel plates compared to conventional steel, RWE said.
Sven Utermöhlen, CEO RWE Offshore Wind: “At RWE we are fully committed to working towards circularity and net-zero emissions. We are already testing the world’s first recyclable wind turbine blades under real-life conditions at our German offshore wind farm Kaskasi, and we have decided to install them at Sofia [offshore wind farm in the UK].
"By using these rotor blades at our Thor offshore wind farm, too, RWE continues to lead the way towards a circular offshore sector. And we are doing even more. We are the first developer in the world to pilot Siemens Gamesa’s CO2-reduced steel towers, which significantly reduce the carbon footprint of wind turbines. This is the right direction for the future of our sector, which has sustainability at its core.”
RWE says that, while many components of a wind turbine already have established recycling practices, recycling the composite materials used in wind turbine blades has been more challenging.
"Now, for the first time, thanks to a new type of resin with a special chemical structure the composite materials used in Siemens Gamesa’s recyclable blades can be separated again. This process ensures that the properties of the individual materials remain intact so that they can be reused in new casting applications, for example in the automotive industry or in consumer goods," RWE said.
Maximilian Schnippering, Head of Sustainability at Siemens Gamesa: “More than one million tons of blade material are expected to be installed globally every year. Our recyclable blades can avoid those materials ending their life in a landfill and give them a second use.”
RWE will build the Thor wind farm in the Danish North Sea, approximately 22 kilometers from Thorsminde on the west coast of Jutland. With a planned capacity of more than 1,000 MW, Thor is Denmark’s largest offshore wind farm to date. Once fully operational, which is planned no later than the end of 2027, the wind farm will be capable of producing enough green electricity to supply the equivalent of more than a million, or one in three Danish households.