Two new life cycle analyzes of the Delta4000 wind turbine

Nordex takes into account different ecological aspects, such as the selection of materials and recyclability, from the design stage of the wind turbines, as well as during their construction, installation, service and recycling/recovery. In order to assess the environmental impact of products and identify further optimization possibilities, the Nordex Group is carrying out Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) in accordance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards, subjecting them to external verification in accordance with the EPDItaly requirements within the framework of the Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).

The first LCA was published in 2020, for the N149/4.0-4.5 wind turbine with a 105m steel tower. Two more LCAs are now available, one for the N155/5.X with a 105m steel tower and one for the N163/5.X with a 120m concrete tower.


A key LCA indicator is climate impact, which relates greenhouse gases emitted to energy performance over the entire life cycle of a wind turbine. In the new wind farms analyzed, values of 5.5 g CO2e/kWh were recorded for N155/5.X and 2.7 g CO2e/kWh for N163/5.X. For comparison, in the case of N149/4.0-4.5, the climate impact was 6.5 g CO2e/kWh and 475 g CO2e/kWh for the total energy mix.
The results of our analyzes underline the very low specific carbon footprint of wind power and also show that this will continue to be reduced with new turbine models, thanks to performance improvements and life extension measures. Compared to our Delta4000 wind turbine, tested in 2020, the two new LCAs show a climate impact decrease of 15% and 58%, respectively.


In addition to the climate impact of wind turbines, LCAs also allow other important indices to be calculated, such as energy payback time and CO2e. The energy payback time is the time during which a wind turbine must operate to compensate for the amount of energy it consumes during its entire life cycle. In the case of our Delta4000 turbines, the payback time ranges from 5.0 to 7.7 months. The energy payback time for photovoltaic systems, on the other hand, is between one and two years. The CO2e recovery time indicates the time during which a wind turbine must operate to compensate for the CO2e emissions that it could produce during its entire life cycle. The CO2e payback time of the N149/4.0-4.5 wind turbine is approximately 4.5 months of operation. For N155/5.X and N163/5.X, this value is less than four and two months, respectively.