ELLSWORTH, Iowa – They had been piled there for over a year, about 400 huge wind turbine blades removed when their turbine was “repowered,” and when the original solution to dispose of them didn’t work out MidAmerican Energy took action to clear the stockpile.
When wind turbines are “repowered” the blades, mostly fiberglass, have been a problem. MidAmerican wants them recycled and now that is going to happen. Working with Carbon Rivers, a Tennessee company that has developed a new recycling technique, the tons of fiberglass will become a raw material that can be used in a variety of products. A company brochure lists injection molding pellets and 3D printer filaments as well as glass that can be used to make new fiberglass.
A Texas company is using a saw mounted on a modified excavator to cut the blades down to a size that will fit on a regular truck. Those trucks haul the pieces to Knoxville where Carbon Rivers recycles them. The work at the Ellsworth site is about 3/4 done and will be wrapped up in early 2022.