Sep 18, 2023
Company devises ingenious method of repurposing old wind turbines: ‘Entering the market at the perfect time’
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a wind farm wondering what happens when those massive turbine blades need to be retired –– you may be pleasantly surprised by REGEN Fiber’s method of
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a wind farm wondering what happens when those massive turbine blades need to be retired –– you may be pleasantly surprised by REGEN Fiber’s method of repurposing them.
Iowa-based company REGEN Fiber, owned by trucking company Travero, turns old wind turbines, which are known to be very difficult to recycle, into concrete.
The company turns the blades into a reinforcement fiber that makes concrete stronger and more durable and also into microfibers and additives to be used in composite, concrete, and soil stabilization applications.
REGEN Fiber came about when Travero recognized that a solution for repurposing wind turbine blades was not only urgent but also in high demand.
“With tremendous growth projected in the wind industry and an increasing number of turbines already reaching the end of their approximately 20-year lifespan, REGEN Fiber is entering the market at the perfect time,” Jeff Woods, director of business development at Travero, said in a statement obtained by Electrek. “Recycling blades without using heat or chemicals while simultaneously keeping them out of landfills or being burned supports the sustainability goals of both the wind industry and customers receiving the recycled products.”
REGEN Fiber has been on the scene since 2021, when it began testing its methods by collaborating with the concrete industry at a facility in Des Moines, Iowa. By the second half of this year, it will begin commercial-scale operations alongside the opening of a new facility in Fairfax, Iowa.
Once it’s in the full swing of things, the company expects to recycle more than 30,000 tons of blade material a year.
Travero’s efforts with REGEN Fiber offer a sustainable, productive solution to the reality that wind turbines can not stay standing forever. While wind turbines are a great source of clean energy, the question of what comes after the blades must be retired is an important one –– and it is one the Travero has answered with vigor.
The company is not alone in the fight against wind turbine waste – scientists have recently discovered a way to produce these blades with recyclable resin that can be melted down to make new products, even edible ones like gummy bears.
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