Decommissioning onshore wind farms
The German onshore wind farm consists of more than 27,000 wind turbines (WTs), which make the largest contribution to electricity production from renewable energies in Germany at around 40%. As this is a relatively young industry (first commissioning in the 1990s), there is little experience in the field of turbine decommissioning. Dismantling has been increasingly used in recent years, among other things for reasons of functional efficiency, stability and economic viability. In addition, the substitution of still functional turbines with more powerful WTs, so-called repowering, will lead to further decommissioning activities. Strategies for the end-of-life process are therefore needed.
Reusing raw materials and minimising environmental impact
Wind turbines consist of many components, including fiberglass-reinforced plastics, transmissions, permanent magnets and lubricants. Although some of these materials can be reappropriated into the production cycle during dismantling, others need to be disposed of responsibly. Our role involves surveying and documenting current practice and assessing the waste streams, as well as developing a best practice guide for optimised management of the waste streams.
Insufficient recycling capacities for decommissioning of wind turbines
As legislation determines the modern and sustainable management of waste streams, the circular economy project will require an understanding of regulatory guidance and legislation. The study reveals a need for action. In addition to bottlenecks in recycling capacities, improper decommissioning poses risks to people and the environment. Our experts evaluated the options and give recommendations for effective policies, weighing technical and political aspects. In addition, the project also shows manufacturers ways in which they can take aspects of the circular economy into account when designing turbine components. In this way, the turbines of tomorrow will become even more sustainable.
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SPIC Binhai North offshore wind farm
Ramboll designed one of the largest wind farms in China with the capacity to supply 350,000 households with green energy.
Scaling recycling to tackle growth in plastic waste
Globally, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled. A first of its kind plastic recycling facility in Denmark demonstrates that this challenge can be overcome by processing almost half the nation’s plastic waste.
Engage with us
Principal; Head of Waste and Resource Unit
+49 89 978970141
Senior Market Director, Strategic Sustainability Consulting Ramboll Management Consulting
+49 89 978970120