07 Jul 2023, 13:13
Carolina Kyllmann

German recycling industry calls for paradigm shift in construction of wind turbines


Germany’s recycling industry has called for a paradigm shift in the construction of wind turbines to ensure materials can be reused at the end of their lifecycles, business daily Handelsblatt reports. Germany will face a long-term waste problem unless wind turbines are built to be recycled after dismantling, instead of being incinerated, the waste management association BDE warned. “For decades, Germany has been putting wind turbines onto fields that cannot be reasonably recycled,” BDE head Peter Kurth said. Rotors with carbon or glass fibre present the biggest problem, according to the association, which calls for manufacturers to build turbines in a way that they can be easily dismantled into various components for reuse.

Wind energy is set to become Germany’s most important power source, yet without a solid strategy on how to deal with the turbines after they reach the end of their life, they could become an ecological problem. Energy transition waste is set to reach massive scales in coming years, meaning the country will have to show how it can sustainably manage the green technology stock's full life cycle. Germany’s economy and climate ministry (BMWK) has proposed an update to the country’s resource supply strategy focused on resource efficiency and recycling. Many wind turbines built in Germany in the early 2000s have reached or are about to reach the end of their 20-year guaranteed remuneration period, meaning a lot of these will likely be distmantled in the next years, often to make room for newer and more efficient turbine models.

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