Veolia North America’s (VNA) Environmental Solutions and Services business was recognized as part of the 12th annual Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ) Business Achievement Awards for its innovative partnership with GE Renewable Energy, launched last year, for repurposing wind turbine blades when they have reached the end of their life cycle. In partnership with General Electric, VNA developed a method to break down wind turbine blades to use as energy and supplemental raw materials needed for the manufacturing of cement, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cement production.
CCBJ provides detailed market research on renewable energy, carbon capture & storage, climate change adaptation, energy efficiency and green buildings. Their Business Achievement Awards recognized outstanding performance in environmental and climate change industries. VNA was recognized as the journal’s best of “GHG Mitigation: Practice growth or initiatives or projects in GHG emissions reduction.”
VNA has entered into a four-year contract with GE Renewable Energy to process thousands of blades. Once blades are removed from the wind turbines, they are sent to a VNA processing facility where they are shredded and processed to be used as cement kiln co-processing technology. This product is then used instead of coal, sand and clay at cement manufacturing facilities. Nearly 90% of the wind turbine blade material is reused, leading to a 27% net reduction in CO2 emissions from the cement production process.
Matt Nelson, the VNA operations manager who helps oversee the wind blade repurposing project, accepted the award during a virtual presentation ceremony hosted by CCBJ on March 12. Nelson thanked the outlet for recognizing the value of the project at the virtual gathering, which was attended by more than 30 environmental sustainability leaders and industry advocates from across the globe. Nelson said VNA was proud to be recognized for helping to reduce greenhouse gases, a key driver for the blade repurposing project and a tangible example of the circular economy in action. “At this point, we are close to processing our first 1,000 blades, with the shredded raw material already being used as a raw material substitute and energy for cement kilns,” he said.