This German startup is pioneering recyclable wooden wind turbine blades

In a first, German startup Voodin Blade Technology just installed wooden blades on a prototype wind turbine.

Voodin Blade Technology made the 9.3-meter (63.3-foot) wooden blades specifically out of laminated veneer lumber (LVL), and installed them on an existing wind turbine in Breuna, Germany, near the city of Kassel.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, about 85-90% of a wind turbine is made of materials that can be commercially recycled. But blades are the exception, as they’re made of fiberglass and carbon fiber bound together with epoxy resin, which is difficult and expensive to break down. Voodin says its LVL blades are 100% recyclable.

The company makes its LVL blades with automated computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines that use code to create complex 3D shapes. The technology can be used for manufacturing any type of blade – no molds are needed. It’s efficient, cheaper, and locally made, reducing transportation costs and emissions.

What’s more, Voodin Blade Technology asserts that LVL is even more durable than the composite materials typically used to make turbine blades. Company cofounder Jorge Castillo said:

We have conducted hundreds of laboratory tests during the past two years to perfect the blade material. According to all our tests, our blades are even more durable than the existing fiberglass blades, as they show fewer fatigue characteristics and are proven to endure all kinds of onshore weather conditions extremely well.

In addition to testing its prototype turbine, Voodin is now building new prototypes with larger 60-meter (197-foot) and 80-meter (262-foot) blades.

Read more: The world’s tallest wooden wind turbine is now online


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