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French wind turbine blades to get a second life as car body panels

Previously virtually impossible to recycle, the carbon fibre blades can now be saved from landfill and re-formed

The recycling process reduces carbon fibre blades into tiny particles Pic: engel.ac / Shutterstock

A French entrepreneur has launched a pilot factory to demonstrate his new process of recycling large pieces of carbon fibre, such as aircraft wings and wind turbine blades.

Using robots driven by artificial intelligence, the Nantes factory reduces the carbon fibre into tiny particles and then re-forms it into a new material, which can be used for items such as car body panels and computer cases.

In the past, the disposal of wind turbine blades has been problematic. Early ones, made from glass fibre, are still just about impossible to recycle, but more modern carbon fibre ones can now have a second life.

‘Huge demand’

Benjamin Saada, founder of Fairmat, said in a BFM TV interview: “It saves them from landfill or being incinerated, where lots of potentially toxic gases are released.”

The company was founded in 2020 and Mr Saada hopes to build a fully functioning factory in France soon.

“The move to re-industrialise in France means there is huge demand for materials to make things with,” he said.

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