Introducing sustainable composites to the Windpower Industry

Why we are building the first NFC-nacelle

On our agenda towards a more sustainable future, the developments around renewable energy and especially wind power, have taken on a central role. In 2019 alone, the electricity generated from wind turbines avoided an estimated 42 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions. So, it does not come as a surprise that the EU commission pushes tens of billions of euros into clean energy projects in the hope to achieve the 33% share of renewable energy by 2030.

However, on our mission to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all by 2030 (SDG 7 by the UN), expanding our network of wind farms and individual turbines might not be enough.

The downside of wind power

With the introduction of composite materials into the wind power industry, we saw a considerable progression mainly due to two aspects. First, they are lighter and thus produce energy more efficiently. And secondly, composites are long-lasting and therefore the turbines can now produce clean energy for much longer – for around 20-25 years. The question of what happens to the turbines after their lifetime, however, still remains open and unaddressed by the manufacturers. 90% of a turbine’s weight comprises various composites, mostly polymer composites with glass fiber reinforcements. And even though, the industry is making considerable efforts to increase recyclability, most of the materials are still recyclable.

Today, 2.5 million tons of composite materials are in use in the wind sector globally, and as the first generation of wind turbines is now starting to come to an end, many parts will be decommissioned soon.

This will amount to thousands of tons of unrecyclable waste. In our endeavor to decrease our environmental impact, wind power turbines majorly contribute by creating clean energy. But what if we could enhance their very own carbon footprint in terms of lowering energy consumption for manufacturing and facilitating bio-degradability?

Improving our energy production with wind power turbines was the first step. Improving the environmental impact of the turbines themselves will be the necessary next step.

In the winter of 2020/2021, GREENBOATS will finish the first NFC-nacelle, which is one of the largest components of a wind turbine. The future is light-weight. However, the future is also sustainable. The wind power industry illustratively shows that, and we are excited to be part of this impactful change.

In the following weeks, we will use this channel to share more images from the production, explain the choice and impact of the materials we are using as well as introduce our network of suppliers and development partners. Stay tuned for more.