LM Wind Power Unveils Second Recyclable Wind Turbine Blade Under ZEBRA Project
The ZEBRA (Zero wastE Blade ReseArch) consortium on December 15 announced the successful completion of the full scale validation testing of the first recycable blade and production of the second recyclable thermoplastic blade, further advancing the wind industry’s commitment to achieving a circular economy.
The second blade, measuring 77 m in length, was made at LM Wind Power’s blade plant in Castellón, Spain, using Arkema’s thermoplastic liquid resin Elium® known for its recyclability, and Owens Corning’s high performance glass fabrics. It features a new Carbon-Elium® resin spar cap technology and a new adhesive from Arkema.
Importantly, the second ZEBRA blade is a world-first in using recycled Elium® resin in the manufacture of a shear web, which is a structurally important component of the blade, and demonstrates the potential of the resin technology to deliver sustainable blade designs and simulating the circularity of the Elium® resin.
John Korsgaard, Senior Director, LM Wind Power says: “The second ZEBRA blade builds on the learnings and valuable insights gained from the creation of the first blade and has helped us understand the structural potential to use Elium® resin in carbon blades. It complements the efforts led by our partners to demonstrate the recycling technologies for Elium® based composites using glass fiber and even carbon fiber. This blade marks a key milestone for the ZEBRA project and highlights the significance of plant collaboration in new technology development, in addition to supporting sustainability objectives for our company and our customers.”
“The ZEBRA project is proceeding according to schedule and will soon deliver its final results. The successful achievement of the test campaign on the first blade and the completion of this second blade represents a major achievement both for the consortium and for the wind energy industry as a whole. The next major milestones for the year 2024 will be the delivery of a complete life cycle analysis based on the blades produced in the frame of ZEBRA project, the focus on recycling activities and the completion of validation testing on the second blade containing the new Carbon-Elium® resin spar cap," emphasises Guillaume SANA, project leader at the IRT Jules Verne.
Following the manufacture of the first recyclable ZEBRA blade in March 2022, the ZEBRA consortium initiated a further intensive development and testing phase to develop the necessary technologies to manufacture a Carbon-Elium® resin spar design. This included material and process development to ensure that required mechanical properties could be achieved, and in close collaboration with LM Wind Power's skilled Castellon team, the necessary manufacturing process could be developed to ensure the manufacture of full-scale components.
The first recyclable blade has successfully completed full-scale validation testing at LM Wind Power’s Test and Validation Centre in Denmark, with recycling tests currently ongoing. Full-scale structural lifetime testing of the second blade has already started with successful completion of static testing, where the blade is exposed to the extreme loads.
Launched in September 2020, the ZEBRA project is a unique partnership led by French research center IRT Jules Verne and brings together industrial companies including Arkema, CANOE, ENGIE, LM Wind Power, Owens Corning and SUEZ. The project’s aim is to demonstrate the technical, economic, and environmental relevance of thermoplastic wind turbine blades on a full scale, with an eco-design approach to facilitate recycling.
Image shows the second ZEBRA blade at LM Wind Power's Lunderskov facility alongside consortium leaders