Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Continuum looks to recycle wind turbine blades into composite materials

Post Thumbnail

Danish start-up Continuum has developed a world-first method of recycling wind turbine blades into composite building materials, and the company could potentially base its first factory in Scotland.

  • Developed by co-founder and chief technical officer Reinhard Kessing, the patented technology can process wind turbine blades up to 22 metres in length and 3.6 metres wide.
  • The company is in advanced discussions with potential investors and hopes to finalise plans for its first factory by the end of 2024.
  • Initially, blades will be sourced primarily from the decommissioning of onshore wind farms, particularly in mainland Europe.

The “infinitely recyclable” composite panels developed by Continuum have the potential to be used in home construction.

The panels are so strong the company is even investigating potential uses for bullet-proofing.

Developed by co-founder and chief technical officer Reinhard Kessing, the patented technology can process wind turbine blades up to 22 metres in length and 3.6 metres wide.

Mr Kessing said the manufacturing method is a “totally environmentally friendly, dry process”.

Continuum said the fully automated factories are designed to run on 100% green energy and are zero carbon emitting environments; meaning no emissions to air, no waste fluids to ground, and no carbon fuel combustion.

The turbine blades are first put through a “densifier” and then a “crusher”, which creates pizza shaped chunks that are about four inches thick.

From there, the pieces are put through a “hammer mill” which reduces them to about the size of a large orange.

These smaller pieces are then fed through an optical and inductive sorting machine to remove any embedded carbon fibre, which is sold separately onto the second-hand market.

Further metals, debris and contamination are also removed in the advanced facility, which can even remove lead from older wind turbines using a gravity processor.

Once the sorting process is complete, the remaining raw materials are stored on site ready to be blended with a resin to create the composite.

Mr Kessing has been developing the technology for over 20 years, initially using it in factories in Ghana and the United States to recycle wooden panels and automotive interior parts into composite panels.

“I did what people said cannot be recycled,” he said.

“I started with the interior of automotive dashboards, headliners, door panels; a real wide array of things.”

Continuum’s composite panels could be used to create items such as kitchen panels.

Building on that initial success, attention has now turned to the looming challenge of recycling the world’s wind turbines as they reach their end-of-life.

The company is in advanced discussions with potential investors and hopes to finalise plans for its first factory by the end of 2024.

While the company had initially settled on the Port of Esbjerg in Denmark as the site for its first factory, Continuum chief operating officer Martin Dronfield said the company was increasingly considering potential locations in Scotland including Dundee, Rosyth and Cockenzie.

“We now have a straight race between the two locations, if I’m honest, and it’s linked to investment,” Mr Dronfield told Energy Voice.

Continuum is planning to make a final investment decision towards the end of 2024.

In addition, the company is also engaged in advanced discussions on opening a facility in China.

Following on from its plans for factories in Denmark, Scotland and China, Continuum’s vision is to open additional facilities throughout Europe by 2030 to cater for the forecast growth of offshore wind.

“We’ve carried out probably the most detailed and granular study into where all of the turbine blades are coming from over the next 28 years out to 2040,” Mr Dronfield said.

“Our study shows 2.2 million tonnes of end-of-life wind blades in Europe by 2040.”

Mr Dronfield said initially, blades will be sourced primarily from the decommissioning of onshore wind farms, particularly in mainland Europe.

“Then from early 2030 to moving through to the middle of the next decade, increasingly we see offshore wind farms being decommissioned and increasingly we will source offshore wind blades from developers,” he said.

“And the reason we’re looking at ports for the location of the factory is for that very reason.

“So that we’re able to bring large wind turbine blades directly from offshore to the factory.”

Continuum received a £500,000 grant from the UK Offshore Wind Growth Partnership  (OWGP) in 2022, and Mr Dronfield said the grant had been a major boost.

“When we applied for the grant, we only had a factory in Esbjerg in mind, and that grant has helped us accelerate our plans in the UK,” he said.

“It’s been incredibly successful; we simply would not be here today had it not been for that OWGP grant.

“And the very fact that we are now in a race to build the first factory potentially in the UK and potentially in Scotland, is testament to that grant.”

More from SG Voice

Latest Posts