“Most windmill blades are burned” – Southwest

Many wind turbines are currently being replaced. Andreas Markowsky from the green electricity group Freiburg, which currently operates 30 systems, explains what happens to the old wind turbines from the region.

BZ: Have you already dismantled old systems?

Markowsky: A whole series, ten pieces in all. Recently in Kippenheim we were even able to sell the entire system to Eastern Europe for 20,000 euros. All in all, we have been able to reuse parts in every single system so far.

BZ: How can you imagine that?
Markowsky: Parts are often reused as spare parts stores for other wind turbines of the same type – such as the generator. Anything that cannot be sold will be scrapped. There are companies that specialize in this – they dismantle the entire wind turbine and bring it to recycling. The generator contains a lot of copper, which has a high scrap value, there is a lot of steel in the towers that is recycled, even the concrete crumbs from the substructure are still used for road construction. At the end you can’t see anything anymore. The scrap value often even covers the cost of mining.

BZ: Is it more difficult with the wings?
Markowsky: That’s correct. Ideally, they will also be reused. But mostly they are burned. Most wings are made of glass fiber reinforced plastic. They are burned as schnitzels in special ovens, for example in a large plant in Bremen.

BZ: Couldn’t the wind turbines also have been left running?
Markowsky: The new systems are significantly more efficient. The system that we want to build in 2023 at the Holzschlägermatte in Freiburg will generate ten million kilowatt hours of electricity per year – it replaces two old systems that together generated five million.

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