SUEZ develops its expertise in the dismantling and recovery of wind turbines with a recovery target close to 100%
After 15 to 20 years in operation, wind turbines must be replaced by next-generation equipment that is more high-performing and powerful. In France, approximately 1,500 turbines will have to be dismantled in the next five years1. Ahead of the French national regulation aimed at mandatory recycling by 2023, SUEZ is already supporting wind farm managers and manufacturers in the recovery of first-generation wind turbines. Indeed, , SUEZ has begun to use its expertise for on-site dismantling since June 2019. For example, the Group operated two dismantling sites for first-generation wind turbines in Port-La-Nouvelle, near Narbonne (southern France), with a national wind farm manager, with a recovery rate of 98%, including 97% for material recovery.
Once the wind turbines have been dismantled, SUEZ extracts the different materials (steel, copper, aluminum, cables, fiberglass, waste electrical and electronic equipment) and directs them to the most suitable recycling channels, taking into account the environmental footprint of transport. All material flows are rigorously identified and traced until they are recycled, and a complete material assessment is submitted to the wind farm manager. This recovery avoids the extraction of fossil resources and rare virgin materials.
SUEZ also provides technical support in the dismantling and recovery of wind turbine blades and has already recycled more than twenty blades extending up to 50 meters in length for various sites across France. The Group also works with turbine manufacturers on the logistics and recycling of materials which have already been dismantled. In 2021, several dismantling projects are scheduled for wind turbines with blades of 25 to 40 meters in length.
SUEZ is also part of the “ZEBRA” project, led by the IRT Jules Verne advanced research institute, for the development of 100% recyclable composite wind turbine blades. Launched in September 2020, the project gathers industrial players and research centers, and aims to demonstrate the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of thermoplastic wind turbine blades, using an eco-design approach to facilitate recycling.