ABOUT OUR PROJECT

The issue of rotor blade waste

 

Wind energy is generally considered to be very sustainable and is highly valued by most people. However, the general population is hardly aware that the rotor blades of wind turbines have to be replaced after about 20 years and that there is currently no "clean" recycling option yet. Since a constantly growing number of wind turbines is facing their end of life, it is becoming increasingly important to find a second or even third and fourth application for used rotor blades. If we continue with the current disposal process, the worldwide accumulated rotor blade waste could reach up to 43 million tonnes by 2050 - a disaster for the environment, as most of the rotor blades end up in landfills or get incinerated.

 

A pity, as rotor blades are made from high-quality material and offer interesting possibilities for new fields of application.  Because they mainly consist of fiberglass - which is both stiff and strong in tension and compression - rotor blades are capable of substituting other materials for innovative solutions.

 

Our approach

 

The team behind bladesign, consisting of seven students from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of St. Gallen, has set itself the goal of inspiring designers, architects and other creative people about rotor blade material (glass fibre reinforced plastic). Based on this we have created bladesign, where we offer interested people the inspiration, information, complementary expertise and the network they need to work with the material. With the various collaborations that result during this project, we hope to achieve an important step towards a more sustainable future.

Fabrice Bickel, CEO

Master student in Business Innovation at the University of St. Gallen with focus on Business Development. Fabrice represents Bladesign to external stakeholders and leverages his open manner for the strategic acquisition of new cooperation partners.

THE TEAM

Maren Mistele, CTO

Master student in Industrial Engineering in Karlsruhe with focus on Civil Engineering.

Maren's technical understanding enables us to support our partners in planning and

realising their projects through 3-D drawings and advice on material processing.

David Heigl, CFO

Master student in Industrial Engineering in Karlsruhe with focus on Entrepreneurship.

With his experience in dealing with partners and customers, David is in charge of our existing network and takes care of our finances.

OUR PARTNERS

RWE

RWE AG, headquartered in Essen, Germany, ranks among the top leading electricity and gas companies in Europe. RWE is a driving force behind new solutions for ensuring security of supply. Securing energy supply is a key challenge for the energy transition and the aim is to shape the future of energy in Europe. To achieve this, RWE seeks innovative ways to make electricity generation even more efficient and environmentally friendly.

In close collaboration with bladesign, RWE provides expertise around the topic of rotor blades as well as dismantling and shipping the raw materials used for our projects.

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public research university and one of the largest research and educational institutions in Germany. It is one of the leading universities for engineering and the natural sciences in Europe.

Since bladesign was co-founded at the KIT, we can benefit from a wide range of technical expertise from different departments.

SUGAR Network

SUGAR is a global network that brings together students, international universities and companies for the future of innovation through a new learning experience. SUGAR network facilitates human-centered design. Established in 2008, the SUGAR Network is growing and is currently supported by a strong community of 24 universities.

Since bladesign was founded as a project of the SUGAR Network, we can benefit from their international expertise and network, as well as knowledge of the method of design thinking.

University of St. Gallen

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) was founded as a business academy in 1898  and is nowadays a School of Management, Economics, Law, Social Sciences and International Affairs. According to international rankings, the university is considered among the world's leading business schools. Since bladesign was co-founded at the University of St. Gallen, we can benefit from an extensive network of knowledge spanning from business to economics and technology.

PRESS
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: 
Von Rotorblättern zu Möbeln
Germany, September 12, 2019

Viele Windkraftanlagen in Deutschland erreichen derzeit ihr geplantes Lebensende. Dabei fallen große Bauteile aus faserverstärkten Kunststoffen an, die bislang kaum wiederzuverwerten sind. Sieben Studierende des Karlsruher Institutes für Technologie und der Universität St. Gallen wollen dies ändern. In einem ...

Furisalone.it : Objects made from upcycled wind turbine blades
Italy, April 2019

As an ever-growing number of wind turbines reach their end of life, our team of seven students of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of St. Gallen is working on finding second life purposes for used rotor blades. In this exhibition, ...

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Second life for used wind rotor blades 
Germany, April 15, 2019

A large number of rotor blades from wind turbines reaches their end of life. A team of students from the university of St. Gallen and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) embarked on the challenge to find a second life for these blades. At Milano Design Week 2019 they presented their solution....

Horecatrends: Rotor Blade furniture | Recycling wind turbines
Netherlands, April 11, 2019

Rotor blades from wind turbines must be replaced every twenty years. Their synthetic materials make them difficult to recycle. Until today they were shredded and burned. Now they’re made into unique furniture pieces by the German design studio Tarantik & Egger. Great Great objects for restaurants and hotels that are committed to sustainability ....

Material District: What not to miss during Milan Design Week 2019
Netherlands, April 8, 2019

Salone Internazionale del Mobile, also known as Milan Design Week, takes place from 9 to 14 April 2019. MaterialDistrict will be present to scout the latest and most innovative materials. Below, we have listed a few projects that use innovative, surprising and/or sustainable materials, which you shouldn’t miss...

PRESS
ECE Students:
Rotorblades: The furniture of the future?, January 06, 2020

Most people associate wind turbines with sustainability, but the same rotor blades that provide us with clean energy are also immensely difficult and costly to recycle. 

But what if there were a sustainable way to repurpose them? Meet Fabrice; Swiss exchange student at EUR and co-founder of Bladesign ...

IHK Karlsruhe:
Pitches von Energie-Start-ups auf dem Demo Day, September 12, 2019, (S. 75)

Während des fünfwöchigen Programms von AXEL – Der Energie-Accelerator haben sieben Energie-Start-ups an Workshops teilgenommen, die thematisch auf drei „Fast Charging-Wochen“ aufgeteilt waren. In dieser Zeit gab es abwechselnd Vorträge und intensive Arbeitsphasen, in denen die Teams ...

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: 
Von Rotorblättern zu Möbeln
Germany, September 12, 2019

Viele Windkraftanlagen in Deutschland erreichen derzeit ihr geplantes Lebensende. Dabei fallen große Bauteile aus faserverstärkten Kunststoffen an, die bislang kaum wiederzuverwerten sind. Sieben Studierende des Karlsruher Institutes für Technologie und der Universität St. Gallen wollen dies ändern. In einem ...

Furisalone.it : Objects made from upcycled wind turbine blades
Italy, April 2019

As an ever-growing number of wind turbines reach their end of life, our team of seven students of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of St. Gallen is working on finding second life purposes for used rotor blades. In this exhibition, ...

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Second life for used wind rotor blades 
Germany, April 15, 2019

A large number of rotor blades from wind turbines reaches their end of life. A team of students from the university of St. Gallen and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) embarked on the challenge to find a second life for these blades. At Milano Design Week 2019 they presented their solution....

Horecatrends: Rotor Blade furniture | Recycling wind turbines
Netherlands, April 11, 2019

Rotor blades from wind turbines must be replaced every twenty years. Their synthetic materials make them difficult to recycle. Until today they were shredded and burned. Now they’re made into unique furniture pieces by the German design studio Tarantik & Egger. Great Great objects for restaurants and hotels that are committed to sustainability ....

Material District: What not to miss during Milan Design Week 2019
Netherlands, April 8, 2019

Salone Internazionale del Mobile, also known as Milan Design Week, takes place from 9 to 14 April 2019. MaterialDistrict will be present to scout the latest and most innovative materials. Below, we have listed a few projects that use innovative, surprising and/or sustainable materials, which you shouldn’t miss...

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