Avangrid partners with startup WindLoop to test innovative process for wind turbine blade recycling

Avangrid, a leading sustainable energy company and member of the Iberdrola Group, today announced that it recently donated 300 pounds of decommissioned wind turbine blades to WindLoop, a startup comprising of students at Yale University, to test an innovative process for blade recycling. Consistent with Avangrid’s commitment to sustainability, WindLoop’s mission is to build a circular economy for the wind industry by recycling wind turbine components.

Avangrid partners with startup WindLoop to test innovative process for wind turbine blade recycling

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Avangrid is one of America’s most innovative leaders in renewable energy, and this is yet another example of our forward-thinking approach to accelerating a clean energy transition across the United States,” said Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra. “We recognize the great challenges in front of us, and we are helping lay the groundwork to find new and efficient methods to recycle blades that will improve the circularity of our industry.”

Wind turbine blade recycling has long been a challenge in the industry due to the high costs associated with transporting blades and difficulty extracting blade materials – including glass fibre and epoxy resin – in such a way that they that they can be reused. The donated turbine blades came from Avangrid’s Baffin wind farm in Kenedy County, Texas.

WindLoop’s strategy includes two parts. It incorporates an on-site blade shredder which has been shown to significantly reduce transportation costs from wind farm to recycling facility. The company has also developed a process, using green chemistry principles, to effectively separate the fibres and resin in blades. WindLoop’s novel solution can recover over 90% of turbine blade material and 97% of the overall value of the turbine blades.

For a future powered by solar, wind, and energy storage, we need to minimize waste and ensure that materials are recycled for the next wave of clean energy manufacturing,” Shubh Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of WindLoop. “Currently, there is no large-scale industrial process for recycling wind turbine blades, and companies are facing increasing pressure to find recycling facilities that offer circular recycling solutions. WindLoop seeks to bridge this gap. Avangrid’s support is essential for WindLoop to carry out advanced R&D and bring its novel recycling process for wind turbine blades to market. Our shared commitment to developing a circular economy for wind energy in America makes this partnership especially promising.”

Cover photo : Avangrid and WindLoop partner for wind turbine blade recycling (source: Avangrid).
Avangrid and WindLoop partner for wind turbine blade recycling (source: Avangrid).

Avangrid is committed to minimizing resource consumption and waste and establishing a circular process to keep materials in use and at high value for the long term. Engaging in a circular economy is one of the top three environmental priorities for Avangrid, resulting in a plan to recycle 100% of the company’s decommissioned wind turbine blades by 2030.

 “Sustainability is at the core of every decision we make at Avangrid, and serves as a guiding principle in our business,” said Laney Brown, vice president of sustainability at Avangrid. “Blade recycling is a key component to the sustainable use of resources as we support the clean energy transition. We are pleased to work with forward-thinkers like WindLoop to develop circular solutions that minimize environmental impacts in our industry.”

Finding a solution to recycling turbine components will become increasingly important to the maturing U.S. wind industry as repowering becomes more common. Repowering includes the replacement of some or all parts of a wind turbine once they reach 10-15 years old to capitalize on improving wind turbine technology and increasing efficiency. Finding a commercially viable blade recycling solution is important to ensuring the sustainability of current and future wind projects across the nation’s wind fleet.

More information www.avangrid.com