REGEN Fiber, a startup that began piloting a process for recycling wind turbine blades in 2021, announced Jan. 12 that it plans to expand that program to commercial-scale operations in the second half of the year.
REGEN Fiber, owned by Travero, has created a process for converting decommissioned blades into a reinforcement fiber to provide additional strength and durability to concrete and mortar.
That process also produces microfibers and additives from components of the wind blade for use in composite, concrete and soil stabilization applications, the company said.
The pilot program began in 2021, and REGEN Fiber has been working with the construction industry to refine the process. To reach commercial-scale operations, the company is building a manufacturing plant in Fairfax, Iowa.
When commercial-scale operations in Fairfax reach full production levels, REGEN Fiber anticipates recycling over 30,000 tons of shredded blade materials a year, the company said in its release.
Jeff Woods, Travero’s director of business development, said that the startup’s entry into the market is well-timed due to projected growth in the wind industry and the number of turbines that are nearing the end of their lifespans.
“Recycling blades without using heat or chemicals while simultaneously keeping them out of landfills or being burned supports the sustainability goals of both the wind industry and customers receiving the recycled products,” he said.
REGEN Fiber has also begun recycling scrap materials from manufacturing of the blades. This scrap is processed into fibers that can be used for asphalt and composite products, the company said.