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In the coming years, thousands of wind turbines will cease to be eligible for funding, and, as a result, many will probably be decommissioned. The Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI in Braunschweig has now presented new methods for recycling rotor blades at LIGNA, the world’s leading trade fair for machinery, plant, and tools for woodworking and wood processing. Instead of incinerating the blades, which are mostly made of balsa wood, as has until now been the case, the Fraunhofer Institute suggests processing them into wood-fiber insulation mats. With a density of less than 20 kg/m3, the recycled mats are considerably lighter than any other model available on the market and also offer significantly better insulation in relation to their weight.

At LIGNA, the institute’s scientists also presented extruded floorboards made from wood polymer composites (WPC), also produced from the balsa wood from rotor blades. These floorboards are not only lighter but also stronger than the standard WPC decking boards currently available. In addition, a novel wood foam made from recycled balsa wood was also exhibited.