Second-life wind blades boost solar power

Wind turbines are a very climate-friendly way of producing electricity. Yet the turbines' rotor blades are made of either carbon fibre or glass fibre composite material, both of which are expensive to break down. Moreover, there are no recognised and reliable processes for recycling them. A recent study has indicated that over 3,800 of these blades must be detached every year in Europe alone.

Robust and weather-resistant

The Swiss start-up Turn2Sun has found a novel solution styled Blade2Sun. Its simple yet effective method sees disused rotor blades being repurposed for solar energy. The rotor blades of old wind turbines are fitted with solar panels, which then generate energy that can be fed into the power grid. The blades' robustness and weather resistance predestine them for such second lives. And the big advantage of this solution is how little surface area is needed to set it up.

Prototype at 2,500 metres above the sea

In order to test functionality and resistance in extreme conditions, Turn2Sun has installed an initial prototype in the Swiss Alps in the canton of Graubünden at an altitude of 2,500 metres above sea level. This unique way to use the rotor blades allows them to continue generating renewable energy.

Various potential applications

According to the blade-blazing Swiss start-up, there is a wide array of applications for this configuration. It can provide shade for parked cars, protect water tanks from the sun, be placed over agricultural fields and even cover roads and railway tracks.

Meanwhile, the start-up is working with armasuisse, the Competence Center for Procurement, Technology and Real Estate within the Swiss Federal Department of Defence, on a project to combine wind and solar power by installing a solar device at the base of a working wind turbine. This would provide a stable supply of energy year-round.

Website of Turn2Sun