Credit: Continuum (Licensed photo)
Net zero is the phrase on everyone’s lips, and as 2030 rapidly approaches we constantly hear updates about wind energy generating renewable energy that powers millions of European homes – but what happens when those turbine blades reach the end of their lifespan?
Quite simply, currently the general answer is to put them into landfill or co-process them into cement, but neither is planet friendly, and the former is certainly not sustainable for much longer as many countries in Europe look to ban landfill from 2025.
For Continuum, net zero doesn’t stop at generating clean energy from wind. They’re taking it a step further, by delivering to the European market a revolutionary industrial scale end-to-end service that ensures end of life wind turbine blades never die and most certainly never go to landfill or get hidden in energy hungry co-processed solutions.
When the end of their first life finally arrives, Continuum simply, logically, and efficiently recycle them into revolutionary new, high performing composite panels for the construction, and related industries. Their vision? Abandon the current landfilling, and drastically reduce CO2 emitted during currently applied incineration & co-processing in cement factories by 100 million tons by 2050, via their state-of-the-art mechanical composite recycling technology and their industrial scale factories.
Better yet? The technology is proven, patented, and ready to go. Reinhard Kessing, co-founder and CTO of Continuum Group ApS has spent 20+ years of research and development in this field, perfecting the reclamation of raw materials from wind blades and other composite products and transformation of these materials into new, high performing panel products.
By working with partners, Continuum’s first class, cost-effective solution covers end-to-end logistics and processes. This spans from the collection of the end-of-life blades through to the reclamation of the pure clean raw materials and then the remanufacturing of all those materials into high value, highly performing, infinitely recyclable composite panels for the construction industry or the manufacture of many day-to-day products such as facades, industrial doors, and kitchen countertops. The panels are 92% recycled blade material and greatly outperform competing products.
The result is a fully sustainable, ultra-low carbon footprint solution for an industry challenge that otherwise leaves mountains of waste.
Nicolas Derrien: Chief Executive Officer of Continuum Group ApS said: “We need solutions for the disposal of wind turbine blades in an environmentally friendly manner, we need it now, and we need it fast, and this is where Continuum comes in! As a society we are rightly focussed on renewable energy production, however the subject of what to do with wind turbine blades in the aftermath of that production has not been effectively addressed. We’re changing that, offering a recycling solution for the blades and a construction product that will outperform most other existing construction materials and be infinitely recyclable, and with the lowest carbon footprint in its class.”
Martin Dronfield, Chief Commercial Officer of Continuum Group ApS and Managing Director of Continuum Composite Transformation (UK) Ltd, added “We need wind energy operators & developers across Europe to take a step back and work with us to solve the bigger picture challenge. Continuum is offering them a service which won’t just give their business complete and sustainable circularity to their operations but help protect the planet in the process,”.
Each Continuum factory in Europe will have the capacity to recycle a minimum of 36,000 tonnes of endof- life turbine blades per year and feed the high value infinitely recyclable product back into the circular economy by 2024/25.
Thanks to investment from Climentum Capital and a grant from the UK’s ‘Offshore Wind Growth Partnership’, Continuum are planning for the first of six factories in Esbjerg to be operational by the end of 2024 and for a second factory in the United Kingdom to follow on just behind it. After that they are looking to build another four in France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey by 2030.
As part of this amazing story, and as part of their own pledge to promote green behaviour, Continuum have designed their factories to be powered by only 100% green energy and to be zero carbon emitting environments; meaning no emissions to air, no waste fluids to ground, and no carbon fuel combustion. Investment opportunities still exist in Continuum and the company will be able to start taking end of life blades by the end of 2023.
Continuum Group ApS is a company registered in Denmark, it has subsidiary companies in Denmark Continuum Aps and the UK Continuum Composite Transformation (UK) Limited. Continuum are giving a new purpose to end-of-life wind blades and composites, preventing them going to waste by using 20+ years of research and development and building state of art factories. They will reduce the amounts of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere by the current waste streams, delivering significant value to Europe’s Net Zero efforts.
About Climentum Capital
Climentum Capital is a Venture Capital firm based in Copenhagen, Berlin, and Stockholm. We invest in European start-ups that can cut down megatons of CO2 emissions in a concrete and measurable way. The fund targets late Seed and Series A investments into the six sectors that demonstrate the largest CO2 reduction potential: Industry & Manufacturing, NextGen Renewables, Food & Agriculture, Buildings & Architecture, Transportation & Mobility, and Waste & Materials. As one of the first Venture Capital funds with a double carry structure (with both financial and impact targets), Climentum is dedicated from day one to evaluating and only investing in companies that hold true carbon reduction potential.
Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) is a long-term business transformation programme that will promote closer collaboration across the supply chain, implement structured productivity improvement programmes and facilitate shared growth opportunities between developers and the supply chain. Over the next ten years delivery will focus on direct support to supply chain companies through a combination of strategic capability assessment, advisory services and grant funding. ORE Catapult will be a main delivery partner with support of other companies in particular advisory strands.