China Is Creating a Recycling System for Wind Turbines and Solar Modules

by | 17. Aug 2023 - 12:41 | Economy

Sophisticated circular economy system to be in place by 2030.

China is the world leader in the expansion of both wind power and solar energy. Last year, the country installed 37 gigawatts of wind power capacity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), accounting for half of the amount added globally. However, turbines and solar modules will eventually reach the end of their service life, at which point vast quantities of waste will be produced. China plans to respond to this challenge with a new recycling system by the end of the decade, South China Morning Post reports. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, this will be done with new standards and strategies as well as the development of specialized industrial clusters. Installations in the future will be designed by manufacturers so that they can be easily dismantled and recycled. They will also be responsible for decommissioning old plants in the future and will no longer be allowed to dispose of waste in landfills, it adds.

In addition to protecting the environment, large-scale recovery of contained resources such as silicon, as well as rare earths, is also likely to be in China’s interest. As of 2018, the country is the world’s largest importer of rare earths. For example, about half of the heavy rare earths (e.g. dysprosium) come from the neighboring country Myanmar.

Photo: iStock/Airubon