Vestas Announces Plans to Produce Zero-Waste Wind Turbines by 2040

Vestas has announced plans to produce zero-waste wind turbines by 2040 by developing and implementing a new waste-management strategy.

An estimated 11.2 billion tonnes of solid waste is collected every year, posing a serious risk to resource depletion, air pollution and water and soil contamination. With the global wind energy market set to grow by an average of 3 per cent per year in the coming decade, Vestas is mitigating its environmental impact by committing to eliminate waste across its value chain. Today, Vestas wind turbines are on average 85 per cent recyclable, however, wind turbine blades are currently comprised of non-recyclable composite materials.

Wind energy will continue to grow rapidly, therefore the time for a conservative approach is behind us. I am proud to be part of an organisation that is making sustainability an integral component in all business operations Vestas interim Chief Operations Officer, Tommy Rahbek Nielsen

The company will consider all aspects of the turbine lifecycle, aimed at improving the recyclability rate of blades and nacelles. As a first step, Vestas will be focusing on improving the recyclability of all wind turbine blades. Incremental targets will be introduced to increase the recyclability rate of blades from 44 per cent today, to 50 per cent by 2025, and to 55 per cent by 2030.

Several initiatives designed to address the handling of existing blades after decommissioning will be set in motion. These will cover new recycling technologies that are optimal for composite waste, such as glass fibre recycling and plastic parts recovery. Vestas will also be implementing a new process around blade decommissioning, providing support to customers on how to decrease the amount of waste material being sent to landfill.