Acciona will build a pioneering plant for recycling wind turbine blades in Navarra

ACCIONA, ACCIONA Energía and RenerCycle announced today the construction of Waste2Fiber, a wind blade recycling plant in Lumbier (Navarra). The facility will be operational in 2025 and will create over 100 jobs.

The project brings together ACCIONA’s experience in composite materials, ACCIONA Energía’s access to end-of-life wind turbine blades and track records in innovative solutions for circular economy, as well as RenerCycle’s activities in the decommissioning of wind turbines.

The Waste2Fiber plant has been awarded €5.3 million in funding from the Spanish Government’s Proyectos Estratégicos para la Recuperación y Transformación Económica (PERTE) program and has the support of the Navarra Government.

The facility will be the first in Spain in utilizing a ground-breaking proprietary thermal treatment technology for the recycling of composite materials present in wind turbine blades. This technology, based on the use of moderate and controlled temperature and atmosphere conditions, will make it possible to preserve the properties of the reinforcement fibers, reuse the organic fractions and transform the composite materials into secondary raw materials with high added value that can be used in new production processes with a quality comparable to that of virgin raw materials. will enable composite transformation into secondary raw materials with high added value that can be introduced into new production processes, with quality comparable to virgin raw materials. This represents a considerable environmental and safety improvement for the transformation of waste into secondary raw materials in compliance with European waste management directives.

Several formats of recycled glass and carbon fibers will be used in industries such as automotive and construction, while organic compounds will have applications in the chemical industry.

Construction of the recycling facility will begin in the first half of 2024. The plant will have a processing capacity of 6,000 tons of material per year, covering all stages of the production process, from the dismantling and fragmentation of the blades to the output and quality control of the final products.

Compared to the production of virgin fibers, this valorization of components will reduce the carbon footprint by 66% and 95% for glass fibers and carbon fibers respectively, making a very positive contribution to the decarbonization of the planet.

In 2021 ACCIONA became the first infrastructure and renewable energy company to achieve certification of its “Circular Economy Strategy” by AENOR. Since then, the company has continued to invest in activities to drive and promote circular economy, and the construction of the Waste2Fiber plant is another example of this commitment.

With more than 4,000 wind turbines currently in operation in Spain, blade recycling is a critical topic for the wind industry and the Waste2Fiber plant is a step in the right direction to proving long term, sustainable recycling solutions, whilst closing the loop in circular economy.

ACCIONA is a global company and a leader in the provision of regenerative solutions for a decarbonized economy. Its business offer includes renewable energy, water treatment and management, eco-efficient transportation and mobility systems, resilient infrastructures, etc. The company has been carbon neutral since 2016. ACCIONA recorded sales of €11.2 billion in 2022 and has a business presence in more than 40 countries.

ACCIONA Energía is the largest 100% renewable energy company with no fossil legacy in the world. It has 12.27GW of renewable energy and commercial operations in 20 countries. With 30 years of experience, ACCIONA Energía offers a complete portfolio of tailor-made energy solutions for its corporate and institutional clients to meet their decarbonization goals. ACCIONA Energía is committed to the highest environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards. ACCIONA S.A., a leading global company in the provision of regenerative solutions for a decarbonized economy, is the reference shareholder of ACCIONA Energía.

RenerCycle was created in 2022 to develop circular economy solutions for the wind energy sector. Backed by ten companies from the renewable energy industry – ACICONA Energía among them –, RenerCycle’s main activities revolve around wind farm dismantling, the repair and reconditioning of wind turbine components, as well as the promotion of new business lines to recycle metallic materials, composites from blades and nacelles, and organic materials.