ACCIONA, ACCIONA Energía and RenerCycle announced today the construction of Waste2Fiber

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. 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.