This company turns wind turbine blades into concrete

An Iowa startup is transforming decommissioned wind turbine blades into reusable materials for the concrete and mortar industries.

REGEN Fiber, which is owned by trucking company Travero, turns wind turbine blades into reinforcement fiber that increases the strength and overall durability of concrete and mortar applications such as pavement, slabs-on-grade, and precast products.

The Cedar Rapids-based company also produces microfibers and additives from wind blade components that can be used in a range of composite, concrete, and soil stabilization applications.

Jeff Woods, director of business development at Travero, said in a statement:

With tremendous growth projected in the wind industry and an increasing number of turbines already reaching the end of their approximately 20-year lifespan, REGEN Fiber is entering the market at the perfect time.

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.

In 2021, REGEN Fiber began to pilot the process and collaborate with the concrete industry at a facility in Des Moines, Iowa. It will begin commercial-scale blade recycling in the second half of 2023. A new facility is currently being built in Fairfax, southwest of Cedar Rapids.

Once commercial-scale operations in Fairfax reach full production levels, REGEN Fiber anticipates recycling more than 30,000 tons of shredded blade materials annually.

REGEN Fiber is already recycling new wind turbine blade manufacturing scrap materials at commercial scale at its Des Moines facility. Those scrap materials are processed into fibers that can be used for asphalt and composite products.

And rather handily, Travero transports the turbine blades and the finished recycled products across North America.

Read more: Wind turbines made entirely of wood are coming

Photo: REGEN Fiber


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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.