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?

The answer has previously involved putting them into landfill or co-processing them into cement, but neither solution is planet-friendly and the former is certainly not sustainable for much longer, as many European countries look set to ban landfill from 2025.

For Continuum, net-zero doesn’t stop at generating clean energy from wind. The company is 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.

Continuum efficiently recycles turbine blades into high-performing composite panels for the construction and related industries. The company aims to abandon landfilling and drastically reduce CO2 emitted during currently applied incineration and co-processing in cement factories by 100 million tons by 2050 via state-of-the-art mechanical composite recycling technology and industrial scale factories.

Better yet,t he technology is proven, patented and ready to go. Reinhard Kessing, co-founder and CTO of Continuum Group ApS, has spent more than 20 years researching and developing this field, perfecting the reclamation of raw materials from wind blades and other composite products and transforming these materials into new panel products.

By working with partners, Continuum’s first-class, cost-effective solution covers end-to-end logistics and processes – from the collection of end-of-life blades through to the reclamation of clean, raw materials and then the remanufacturing of all those materials into high-value, infinitely recyclable composite panels for the manufacture of 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.

Eastern Daily Press: Martin Dronfield, chief commercial officer of Continuum Holding ApS and managing director of Continuum Composite Transformation (UK) Ltd.Martin Dronfield, chief commercial officer of Continuum Holding ApS and managing director of Continuum Composite Transformation (UK) Ltd. (Image: Continuum)

Chief commercial officer of Continuum Holding ApS and managing director of Continuum Composite Transformation (UK) Ltd Martin Dronfield said: “We need wind energy operators and 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."

Martin, based in Norwich, is one of the East of England’s most passionate supporters of clean energy and the UK’s race to net-zero. He is a strong advocate of the East of England’s position as the UK’s leading exemplar of an integrated energy approach and can often be seen presenting to live audiences or being interviewed on TV and representing the region in Westminster championing the cause.

Alongside his role as chief commercial officer at Continuum, Martin is a shareholder and director of the successful Opergy Group of companies and is also the executive chairman of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), one of the UK most active energy trade associations.

Martin's local roots mean that he is keen to see Continuum's UK factory built in the region and is currently talking to ports in Great Yarmouth, Harwich and Felixstowe. But he also recognises that other locations around the UK are competitive in their pursuit of being selected as the location for the second Continuum factory. 

Each Continuum factory in Europe will have the capacity to recycle a minimum of 36,000 tonnes of end of life turbine blades per year and feed the product back into the circular economy by 2025.

Thanks to investment from Climentum Capital and a grant from the UK’s Offshore Wind Growth Partnership, Continuum is 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 just behind it. After that the company is looking to build another four in France, Germany, Spain and Turkey by 2030.

Chief executive officer of Continuum Holdings ApS Nicolas Derrien 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 focused 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.”

As part of its pledge to promote green behaviour, Continuum has designed factories to be powered by 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 in Continuum are available and the company will be able to start taking end of life blades by the end of 2023.

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