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Since Eolus relies on natural resources to establish renewable energy facilities, we have a crucial role to play in society’s transition to a circular economy. We strive to incorporate a life cycle perspective into our decisions and, already in the early development stages of our projects, integrate an approach that enables a wind or solar park to be circular.

Eolus Supports Industry Initiatives

To ensure responsible use, reuse, and recycling of resources, collaboration amongst a variety of stakeholders is required. Therefore, we engage in close dialogue and share experience and knowledge with both manufacturers of wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and other industry players. To drive impact in the industry, Eolus has taken an active role in the Swedish Wind Energy Association’s sustainability council and collaborates with industry peers to promote the development of circularity.

Materials Used in Wind Turbines

A wind turbine is composed of around 85% steel and iron, which can now be re-used or recycled -the foundation, tower, and nacelle components are treated according to established recycling practices. The main challenge is the rotor blades, which are mainly composed of fiberglass and thermoset composites – materials that are difficult to recycle in an energy- and cost-efficient way. They are currently treated according to the EU’s waste hierarchy, where reuse is prioritised. However, new technology is being developed and in recent years several of the turbine manufacturers have announced technological developments for recycling blades.

Eolus has a crucial role to play in society's transition to a circular economy
Materials Used in Solar Panels

Most of the materials contained in solar panels are common materials, such as glass, aluminium and plastic, and reuse and recycling of these materials is common practice today. At the end-of-life stage, solar panels are processed in existing recycling plants for glass or metals. However, recycling materials found in smaller fractions, such as silicon, remains a challenge. In Poland, where Eolus has a significant number of solar projects, we have entered into an agreement of intent with Stena Recycling to ensure responsible handling of decommissioned solar panels from the projects we develop.

Materials Used in Batteries

Energy storage systems are designed to operate for at least 30 years, although battery cells may need to be replaced after 10-15 years, depending on their usage. Since batteries are manufactured with critical raw materials such as copper, nickel, and cobalt, the recycling industry is working on developing efficient recycling processes as this is a crucial part of achieving the climate goals set within the EU.

Working with our Suppliers for Progress

Since we do not manufacture wind turbines, solar panels or batteries, we are reliant on working with our supply chain to achieve our climate and circularity targets. An important activity for Eolus is therefore to set clear requirements for suppliers of wind turbines, solar panels, and battery storage systems regarding circularity, and work together with the industry for continuous improvement.

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