Wind energy may be the poster child for green energy, but ensuring that turbine blades remain sustainable is a critical quandry for those in the industry, especially as blades are designed to be larger and larger and landfills hurtle closer and closer to full capacity.
Greenville-based Logisticus Group, a logistics and technology company that helps transport unwieldy blades across the country from the farm to the graveyard is taking one step towards giving turbine blades a new lease on life.
The company recently entered into a partnership with Knoxville, Tenn.-based Carbon Rivers, an advanced materials technology firm that specializes in glass fiber recycling and next-generation composites. The companies have formed a joint venture to develop an approach that eliminates waste by combining the reuse and upcycling of wind turbine components, according to a news release.
Logisticus Group and Carbon Rivers have previously worked together on wind turbine decommissioning projects throughout the U.S.
Logistics Group begins the newly identified recovery process by removing sections of the blade spar for direct reuse at the wind farm to support other site operations. According to the news release, direct reuse of the blade also reduces the overall energy and carbon dioxide footprint for blade disposal by lowering the amount of material required for recycling.
“We are constantly striving to enact change in the wind energy market and improve the processes that surround it,” Phillip Mitchum, partner at Logisticus Group, said in the news release. “We saw an opportunity to reduce waste and create a technology that is green and sustainable. Carbon Rivers was the perfect company to partner with to make the idea of wind turbine blade reuse and upcycling a reality.”
The second piece of the process involves Carbon Rivers’ industry expertise in reclaiming parts of the blade, recovering the glass fiber and upcycling the material into next-generation composite intermediates. They then work with partners in a variety of industries for these pieces to be used by original equipment manufacturers.
“Entering into this partnership with Logisticus Group has been an exceptional experience,” CEO Bowie Benson said in the release. “We knew we needed a forward-thinking company like Logisticus Group to visualize and execute what the front end of this innovative upcycling process could look like, and they have exceeded our expectations. This upcycling process of wind turbine blades is truly the first of its kind and we are proud to partner with a company that values a sustainable future.”