Kemroc’s key role in rotor blade recycling

By Steve Ducker01 March 2021

In the years ahead, thousands of wind turbines across Germany will need to be dismantled and many will be replaced with newer, better alternatives.

Recycling specialist Eurecum has developed a process for pre- and post-shredding of rotor blades that recycles residual material.

Cat MH3024 material handler and Kemroc KDS 50 diamond saw Cat MH3024 material handler and Kemroc KDS 50 diamond saw in operation at Eurecum in Germany (photo courtesy Kemroc)

The company, based in Saxony-Anhalt, cuts the rotor blades up on site, from where the material is transported to a recycling centre and shredded into industrially valuable GRP (glass reinforced plastic) granulate.

In 2020, Eurecum took possession of a 24 t Cat MH3024 material handler supplied by Zeppelin Baumaschinen. The machine was delivered with a hydraulically driven Kemroc KDS 50 diamond saw with rated output power of 135 kW and a 1,200 mm (47 in) diameter diamond cutting wheel.

The KDS range is designed to cut concrete, steel, reinforced concrete, natural stone, aluminium as well as GRP. Kemroc said that in practice, in one day an operator with this combination of material handler and diamond saw can cut three 40 m (131 ft) long rotor blades of a typical 20 MW turbine, each weighing around 8 t, in lengths suitable for transportation. Actual cutting time is around five hours.

By cutting GRP rotor blades into three or four relatively large sections on site, the environmental impact of recycling is said to be kept to a minimum.

“With our new recycling concept, we can shred rotor blades in a highly efficient manner and produce material that can be reused which adds value to the recycled product,” said Eurecum managing director Alexander von Neuhoff.

“Our timing is perfect and with the planned shutdown or repowering of plants, we expect to be recycling between 2,000 to 3,000 t per year.”

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