DNR reviewing disposal and reuse of wind turbine blades

By Dar Danielson (Radio Iowa)

The Department of Natural resources has been holding meetings on discuss possible changes or improvements to the process of disposing of used wind turbine blades. The DNR’s Aime Davidson says there are regulations in place already for disposing of the blades, but she says there are still challenges.

“They’re really large and really strong, so they’re hard to manage at the landfills in those large pieces. And I think there is also desire to recycle them, obviously as they’re a green energy,” she says. “And so kind of similar situation figuring out exactly how you do that has been difficult.” She says there have been some solutions worked out.

“Landfilling — I think they’ve gotten to a point where if they’re cut down into small enough pieces, they’re able to manage them just like any other waste. So that’s good,” Davidson says. “As far as recycling, I do know that there are a few places where they grind them up and are potentially using them as a substitute for aggregate and concrete mixes.” She says those concrete mixes are used for parking areas and planters. Davidson there’s continued work on figuring out new formulations for blades going out to make them easier to recycle. Another aspect of the blades is making sure they don’t get backed up into big piles. Davidson says there are regulations that require recyclers to show they are indeed recycling the blades.

The DNR’s ongoing meetings include the utility companies, industry representatives, and solid waste agencies, to develop recommendations.

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