Genvind

 

Tuco Partners in the Genvind Project

GTS – Advanced Technology Group is a network consisting of nine independent Danish research and technology organizations. They are called the GTS institutes and together they make the GTS network. They support their customers’ innovation and constitute the core of the technological infrastructure in Denmark.

The GTS institutes offer knowledge, technology and consultancy, co-operation on technological and market-related innovation, testing, optimization, quality assurance, certifications and benchmarking – all of which contribute to enhancing the international competitiveness of the Danish business sector and benefit Danish society in general.

The main function of the network is to spread new knowledge and technology to companies and public institutions in order to support innovation and development. The institutes develop and offer state-of-the-art technological services within respective specialist fields. Customers are private businesses as well as public authorities on national and international levels. The institutes also constitute the core of the technological infrastructure in Denmark, e.g. testing facilities, certification and approval activities.

The institutes are: AgroTech, Alexandra Institute, Bioneer, DBI – Danish Institute of Fire and Security Technology, DELTA – Danish Electronics, Light & Acoustics, DFM – Danish Institute of Fundamental Metrology, DHI – Water and Environment, DTI – Danish Technological Institute and FORCE Technology.

Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, head of section for business development, Center for Plastic Technology materials at Danish Technological Institute (DTI), has been interviewed on the matter of one of the latest project within GTS – The Genvind Project. He gave an introduction to the GENVIND project, including the project purpose and motives, the project participants, challenges and a general talk about recycling of polymers and composite materials.

A group of companies and universities are working together in close collaboration within the Genvind project and the goal is the recycling of composite materials from the industry and to find ways to integrate these recycled composite materials in the manufacturing of e.g. new building items.

The Genvind project is funded by The Innovation Fund Denmark. In its core the project is about reusing and recycling composites from wind turbine blades.  The scope is more wind turbines to be installed from renewable sources. The partners are mainly Danish organizations but the implementation of the solutions and technologies is thought to be considered on a European scale. The concept is meant to grow internationally because of the international partners.

Project concept:

’Before applying for funding, we have set a very detailed specification including the project concept, the expected deliverables, and all the milestones. The issue here is that it is a bit hard to foresee the final results after four years of dedicated development work’’ – says Mads Kogsgaard Hansen, Danish Technological Institute.

It is quite a large project with a total budget of 45 000 000 DKK. At the moment the project is half way - two years have passed and two more years are still to come. 19 companies are taking part including Tuco Marine Group, 2 knowledge institutes – Force Technology and DTI, and 3 Universities – DTU Wind Energy,  Aalborg University in Esbjerg and University of Nottingham contributing with some small issues within the process. 

The last 2 years of the project can be seen as the first phase of the project. Mainly, there has been research work in order to find new techniques of separating the fibers and the plastic materials already glued together and then engineering work within the findings. This has been done by the universities and now the aim is to scale up, which leads to the second phase of the project - to customize and implement the findings within the business – and make an effort to bring the knowledge to the manufacturing companies, which are going to be working with and demonstrating the materials in production setups.

Mission:

The purpose of the GenVind Innovation Consortium is to develop enabling technologies for a sustainable recycling of plastic composites, and demonstrate that the waste can be used in many different products, components and structures.

Among end-products which could be produced from waste plastic composites are

  • furniture
  • building panels
  • noise barriers
  • new wind turbine blades
  • paint
  • fiber reinforced concrete / mortar / brick
  • stronger concrete and plastic constructions
  • textiles

This project does not stand alone and must be seen in conjunction with a number of efforts. The overall objective is to develop a technically, environmentally and economically satisfactory handling of waste products and production waste plastic composites.

The project is based on cradle-to-cradle philosophy, which is to produce products such that to be included in the closed biological and technical cycles - and thus completely dispose of waste. In regards to the project, this means the composite wastes must be usable as new resources in the form of, inter alia, raw materials and semi-finished products. The vision of the threads is to implement a coordinated and coherent action carried out in cooperation between companies, universities and GTS institutes, and to give the Danish composite industry and a wide range of end users considerable knowledge and technology boost in relation to size reduction, analysis, design and manufacture of competitive recycled products to the world market.

The research goals of the threads are to identify and develop methods for recycling of both short and long, continuous fibers in new composite materials. In addition to challenges in regards to shredding and sorting technologies, there are research challenges in restoring properties of the fibers from the waste composites.

After pre-treatment (mechanical and/or chemical) changes occur in the fibers (including surface topography), resulting in deterioration of the mechanical properties of the composites. It is therefore necessary to restore the mechanical properties of the fibers, which can be done by a post-treatment with a new surface layer (sizing). The fibers can then be reinjected with new binders (resins) and, depending on the final use, a qualification of the new material, from fiber/matrix level to component level. There are also major research challenges in separating the various types of fiber glass, carbon and hybrid fibers and finding opportunities for reuse of sandwich core materials. Design-related questions and methods for the manufacture of components from recycled fibers also constitute important research challenges.

First Phase of the Project:

It has been engineering work as a start, finding the right technology and research about fiber and plastic glued together, new ways of separating, etc.

Second Phase of the Project:

The project is right now at its second phase, which includes customizing and implementing the new technology in companies and businesses, in other words how to bring the findings to the manufacturing phase. Also - to integrate the materials in working prototypes and demonstrating them in production setups.

Third Phase of the Project:

The third upcoming phase of the project would be also the last one – analyzing and evaluating the business cases.

Concept in general and main challenges:

The project has three main platforms - Technological development, Environmental impact and Economical perspectives.

The main challenges of the project can be defined as the following:

  • To develop new technological solutions to extract the value of composites and this can be done in two ways: by reusing the units or recycling them.
  • Assess the environmental impact.
  • Secure the economically beneficial implementation  - to make the units attractive to customers.

 

Tuco’s role

Tuco has been asked to participate in the project by the technological institute and Tuco gladly accepted. Innovation and environmentally friendly ways of handling materials are important subjects to Tuco. The overall objective for Tuco - in relation to the Genvind project - is to find ways of making the production of boats and composites more environmentally friendly.

Quite often Tuco has been asked by its customers about lifetime issue of the items and their effects on the environment.

’’We wanted to be a part of the project! It will be an interesting challenge to see if we can contribute to the project by cutting down the environmental impacts of the products - recycling the ships when they don’t work anymore.’’

– Jonas Pedersen, Managing Director of Tuco Marine Group