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How can decommissioned wind turbine blades turn waste into treasure?
 July 11, 2022
Recycling of wind turbine blades
 
In the current market, due to the use of glass fiber materials for fan blades, the recycling technology is difficult and the cost is high. At present, there is no ideal large-scale recycling method. The simple disposal methods of stacking, landfilling and incineration do not meet the requirements of environmental protection and resource utilization; however, there are multiple technical routes including comprehensive utilization, mechanical pulverization, pyrolysis, chemical degradation and energy acquisition. , Due to the small market size and the low value of recycling and comprehensive utilization, industrialization has not yet been realized.

Therefore, the lack of high-value regeneration technology for fan blades and the difficulty of large-scale consumption of materials after regeneration have always been important factors restricting the development of the blade regeneration industry.
 
 
The application of blade solid waste 3D printing technology is expected to break this deadlock.
A few days ago, in China's first renewable energy "carbon neutral" smart park - Goldwind Technology Yizhuang Wisdom Park, a group of landscape flower beds built with solid waste 3D printing technology were officially completed. The "carbon neutral" smart park has injected more green genes, opening up a new direction for leaf recycling.
 

Different from the general 3D printing landscape, the printing materials used in this group of flower beds are taken from the retired fan blades of a wind farm in Inner. This printing material contains leaf crushing particles, which are prefabricated with the help of 3D printing robots, and the leaf solid waste utilization rate of the finished flower bed reaches more than 30%.

This technology can convert the solid waste of fan blades into raw materials for 3D printing. With the help of the 3D printing industry, the large-scale consumption of blade solid waste can be realized, thereby breaking the technical bottleneck of high-value utilization of retired fan blades and making harmless batches. A feasible and economical technical approach has been explored for the disposal of decommissioned wind turbine blades.
 
How to "turn waste into treasure" of retired fan blades
 
3D printing technology is essentially an composites molding processes. The designer inputs the digital design model into the 3D printer and converts it into printing instructions, and the machine will superimpose the printing material layer by layer into parts of a specific shape according to the design requirements. The technical difficulty of adding the crushed particles of the fan blades to the printing material is how to maximize the addition ratio of the blade solid waste under the premise of ensuring that the printed product reaches a specific strength.

In the experimental process of "blade solid waste 3D printing technology", the researchers continuously adjusted the ratio of various raw materials, as well as the particle size and gradation of the crushed particles of the fan blades (the distribution of particles with different particle sizes). Repeated experiments and demonstrations have finally determined the "golden ratio" that meets the requirements for the strength of printed products and the consumption of solid waste of blades, and developed a series of material systems suitable for 3D printing of solid waste of fans.
 
 
The mechanical properties, durability and working properties of finished products made of this new printing material can reach the standard of conventional construction concrete. According to the comparison chart of compressive strength, it can be seen that by adjusting the proportion of the admixture of the fan blade, the compressive strength of the printed material can reach or be close to the strength grades of C30, C20 and C15 concrete respectively.
Note:
The compressive strength of C30 concrete is 30Mpa, which is used for large-span structures, structures with high durability requirements, prefabricated components, etc.; the compressive strength of C20 concrete is 20Mpa, which is used for ordinary chopped fiber reinforced concrete such as beams, slabs, columns, stairs and roof trusses Structure: The compressive strength of C15 concrete is 15Mpa, which is used for cushion, foundation, floor and structures with little stress.
3d compressive strength and 7d compressive strength refer to the compressive strength that the material can achieve after 3 days and 7 days of curing.
 
Trash is a misplaced resource
 
For the solid waste 3D printing industry and blade regeneration industry, this new technology has breakthrough significance.

Data show that it is estimated that by 2025, my country's retired wind turbine blades will generate nearly 5,800 tons of composite solid waste, and by 2028, it will reach 74,000 tons. The problem of solid waste of wind turbines has always plagued industry enterprises, and also restricted the green development of the entire wind power industry. As an intelligent, environmentally friendly and efficient new construction method, solid waste 3D printing technology has the advantages of free formwork, labor saving, material saving, low total cost, design It has significant advantages such as large degree of freedom, high construction efficiency, and low risk of personnel safety. Therefore, this technology is expected to revive enormous vitality in the construction field and become an important complement to traditional construction methods.
 
 
Wind power projects are mostly located in remote areas, and the distribution is relatively scattered. The logistics and transportation costs of transferring the crushed recycled materials to other places for consumption account for a large part of the cost of the entire recycling chain. Therefore, another advantage of this technology is that solid waste 3D printing has a wide range of application scenarios in the construction industry. You can choose to cooperate with construction projects around wind farms and apply mobile 3D printing robots to realize the nearby production and production of blade solid waste. Consumption, reducing the cost of long-distance transportation.
 
Industrial chain cycle process
 
Transform the output of solid waste of fan blades into the raw material supplier of fiberglass solid waste 3D printing industry, use the broad market of the construction industry to realize large-scale consumption of materials after blade regeneration, and give full play to the decisive role of the market in the allocation of resources. Environmental protection is more 'returning treasure', which is the original intention of our decision to develop this technology", the person in charge of the project emphasized. At present, the recycling of domestic fan blades is still in a small-scale and exploratory initial stage, and it is far from large-scale and commercial It is still far away, but the advantages shown by "blade solid waste 3D printing technology" have brought dawn to the wind turbine blade recycling industry.

"Leverage the development of green industry with green innovation technology, let the solid waste of fan blades follow the path of 'in-situ recycling → in-situ crushing → powder screening ingredients → solid waste 3D printing → finished products' to form a complete and large-scale The supporting industry chain is our ultimate vision," said the project leader at the end.
 
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