EnergyLOOP and Surus join forces to tackle wind turbine blade recycling

ENERGYLOOP, a company owned by FCC Ámbito and Iberdrola for the recycling of wind farm components, has signed a collaboration agreement with SURUS, a leading Spanish company in adding value through the execution of projects related to sustainability and the circular economy, with the aim of providing a joint solution for the recycling of wind turbine blades in wind farm repowering projects.

Spain is a leading country in wind energy production, fifth in the world in the ranking of countries with the highest installed wind power capacity and second in Europe. According to the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE), Spain has 1,345 wind farms with more than 22,000 wind turbines and an installed capacity of 30,000 MW, producing 61,176 GWh of energy in 2023, which covers 27.1% of the country’s energy demand. In fact, the wind energy sector contributes more than €3 billion to the Spanish GDP and employs more than 30,000 people.

In order to continue to maintain its leadership in wind energy, Spain needs to modernise its wind farms, as they need to be modernised, both because of their age (more than 36% of wind turbines are more than 15 years old) and because of their efficiency and contribution to sustainability. The repowering of a wind farm consists of replacing old, less powerful and less efficient equipment with new machines of greater capacity and performance, enabling the use of wind resources to be increased. To encourage this renewal process, and given that Spain aims, according to the recent draft of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), to cover 81% of energy demand with renewable sources by 2030, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge launched in December a €223 million call for proposals for the repowering of wind farms.

One of the consequences of the repowering projects that will be addressed is the need to provide a sustainable solution for the blades of the wind turbines that have been replaced, as there are more than 66,000 blades installed in Spain. These elements are made of polyester reinforced with fibreglass or carbon fibre, materials that can be used in a recovery process in the event that a blade has not been able to find a second useful life.

ENERGYLOOP was created in response to the recovery of wind turbine blade components and their reuse in sectors such as energy, aerospace, automotive, textile, chemical and construction. Its activity will begin with the start-up of production in 2024 in the Navarre municipality of Cortes of an innovative blade recycling plant that will require an investment of close to €10 million. The logic of this activity explains the collaboration agreement with a company such as SURUS, a specialist in the circular dismantling of industrial facilities and which has extensive experience in the repowering of wind farms. Under the agreement, SURUS will provide a flow of elements from those projects where it executes its circular dismantling solution, and will offer ENERGYLOOP for recycling those blades that have not been marketed for reuse.

In the words of Luis Sanz, ENERGYLOOP’s managing director, “this collaboration with SURUS, which has a wealth of knowledge, will undoubtedly strengthen ENERGYLOOP’s activity and provide a strong boost to the circular economy, improving the necessary competitiveness and sustainability”.

According to Adolfo Cancelo, managing partner of SURUS, “this agreement allows us to continue contributing our knowledge and experience in the market as an important player in the current wind repowering value chain together with a consortium of the calibre of ENERGYLOOP, all within the framework of our commitment to sustainability and the circular economy”.

ENERGYLOOP is the company owned by Iberdrola, through its PERSEO programme, and FCC Ámbito, a subsidiary of FCC Servicios Medio Ambiente, which has the support of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energies and whose purpose is to lead the recycling of components from renewable facilities, one of the greatest medium and long-term challenges in the sector. The initial objective is the recovery of wind turbine blade components and their reuse in sectors such as energy, aerospace, automotive, textile, chemical and construction. ENERGYLOOP contributes to the transformation of the wind energy sector into a truly circular economy by investing in integrated blade recycling solutions. This initiative will also improve its competitiveness and sustainability thanks to the research and implementation of new recycling technologies that will make it possible to absorb the increasing amounts of waste and adopt increasingly efficient solutions.

SURUS is the leading Spanish company in providing value to society, companies and Public Administrations through the execution of projects related to sustainability and the circular economy. Since 2010 we have been developing turnkey consultancy, dismantling and reemployment projects, dealing with the dismantling of any type of facility with the aim of prioritising the reuse of the resulting assets, maximising recycling and reducing the amount of waste generated. These assets are marketed via auction on our web portal Escrapalia, where we have a large base of hundreds of thousands of customers potentially interested in acquiring them.