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Circe Illustration 1 AF WindTechEnhancing Circular Economy in the Wind Energy Sector
Wind energy is a major renewable source, but its anticipated threefold increase by 2050 will pose severe environmental and economic challenges for wind energy companies regarding the lack of feasible recyclability of wind blade advanced composite materials. The circular economy approach aims to create value from wind turbine waste by transforming it into new products, but it requires cost-effective and efficient technologies. Although several recycling strategies have been proposed, they have drawbacks in terms of energy, quality or secondary markets. The microwave-assisted technology under development by the CIRCE Technology Centre proposes an electromagnetic-induced selective heating of complex wind blade waste to recover glass/carbon fibres and produce further added-value chemical building blocks from resins that aim to suit petrochemical industry production loops. Microwave degradation shows lower energy input and higher yield than conventional methods. Moreover, it can enable the self-consumption of energy from the wind turbine in its own recycling process, enhancing the sustainability and profitability of the system.
 
By Alejandro Fresneda and Ignacio Julián, CIRCE, Spain

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