GE Renewable Energy and LafargeHolcim have announced an MOU to explore circular economy solutions to utilise materials from decommissioned wind turbines. Building on LafargeHolcim’s 10+ years of experience in recovering energy from wind turbine blades, the companies are exploring new ways of recycling wind blades, including as a construction material to build new wind farms.
Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy said, “This is a truly exciting next step in our journey to introduce new circular lifecycle improvements for the wind industry. We are delighted to work with LafargeHolcim on these critical projects, which will help to improve the sustainability of wind power now and well into the future.”
Edelio Bermejo, Head of LafargeHolcim’s Global Innovation Centre said: “With sustainability at the core of our strategy, accelerating renewable energy and the circular economy are top priorities for our business. I’m very excited about this collaboration with GE Renewable Energy because it meets both goals at once.”
With its Research & Development team, LafargeHolcim is exploring how wind turbine blades can be turned into sustainable construction materials. This research builds on the company’s work, under its Geocycle brand, to recover energy from GE’s decommissioned turbine blades after they have been removed from the turbine and shredded. Geocycle currently offers co-processing solutions for wind blades in Germany and will evaluate the possibility of extending this solution to other parts of Europe.
This next phase continues the collaboration between these two companies, following the 2020 announcement to co-develop wind turbine towers at record heights using concrete 3D-printing together with COBOD, the Danish 3D printing start-up. Since the start of that collaboration, wind turbine tower prototypes have been developed using concrete 3D printing technology that is stronger, more efficient, and can be built ten times faster than before.
This announcement is a key next step in both partners’ focus on circular solutions – especially for the European market – at a time when the European Commission has adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan, one of the main blocks of the European Green Deal.
Nearly 10GW of aging turbines in Europe are expected to be repowered or decommissioned by 2025. GE Renewable Energy is committed to bringing circular lifecycle solutions to the market through strategic technology developments and has recently announced a number of key agreements and partnerships.
As part of it net zero journey, LafargeHolcim is actively driving the circular economy to build more with less. As a world leader in recycling, LafargeHolcim recycled 46 million tons of materials across its business in 2020 and is on its way to 100 million tons by 2030.