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Award to AU-partnered project for recycling wind turbine blades

Partners at Aarhus University, the Danish Technological Institute, Olin, and Vestas have received Plastprisen 2023 at Plastindustrien’s anniversary on 25 May at Industriens Hus for their work on developing a method for recycling wind turbine blades through the project, CETEC.

Recycling wind turbine blades has long been a major challenge for the wind turbine industry, as it has not been possible to recycle the epoxy composite material of the blades. It was therefore a great pleasure when partners from the Danish Technological Institute, Vestas, Olin and Troels Skrydstrup's research group with postdocs Alexander Ahrens and Hongwei Sun at Aarhus University, earlier this year, announced a newly developed method for separating wind turbine blades to their basic chemical state. The partners are collaborating on the project via the CETEC consortium (Circular Economy for Thermosets Epoxy Composites) and it is for this work that the consortium has received Plastprisen 2023.
Quite simply, the method separates the shell of wind turbine blades chemically, whereby the epoxy resin, which holds the components of wind turbine blades together, is extracted from the composite material. Subsequently, the resin can be deconstructed and the chemical ‘building blocks’ can be recovered. In the future, these ‘building blocks’ can most likely be reused for new epoxy in the production of new wind turbine blades. However, this needs to be studied further before we know for sure.

What is Plastprisen?

Plastprisen is a prize awarded every year by Plastindustrien to pay tribute to extraordinary achievements in the plastics industry. This year, the prize has been awarded to the CETEC consortium, which is a collaboration between Vestas, Olin Corporation, Danish Technological Institute and Aarhus University. The latter is represented by Prof. Troels Skrydstrup's research group, which is located at iNANO and the Department of Chemistry. The consortium receives the award for their development of a new method for recycling wind turbine blades.

Happiness in CETEC and Plastrindustrien

The prize spurs happiness in CETEC, as the recycling of wind turbine blades, which is a major challenge, will get more attention.

“We are incredibly proud to receive Plastprisen 2023. Not least because it was colleagues and business partners from the Danish plastics industry who voted. It shows that we are heading in the right direction. Recycling of wind turbine blades is an area for which we must find solutions in the future, and this award can hopefully help to raise awareness of that,” says Søren Haack, project manager for CETEC.

”We are really happy to have received this prestigious prize, which provides a perfect example of how a close collaboration between industry and academia can lead to something exceptional, providing a substantial contribution to the green transition,” says Professor Troels Skrydstrup.

The managing director of Plastindustrien agrees: “The CETEC collaboration is a good example of the challenges that can be solved when industry and research work closely together. Composite materials play an important role in the green transition and have a huge value in many places in society. Therefore, it is also positive when we start to see solutions to some of the challenges with the recycling of composites.”

In addition to the honor and recognition from the industry, CETEC receives a statuette by the artist Markan Christensen and a check for DKK 50,000 in connection with the prize.

The above text is based on the press release from Ritzau: https://via.ritzau.dk/pressemädden/cetec-vinder-plastprisen-2023?publisherId=13559201&releaseId=13684784


The CETEC consortium and the development of the method are funded by Innovation Fund Denmark, the Carlsberg Foundation, the Danish National Research Foundation, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Aarhus University and the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programmes.