SynchUp! is initiated by REWIN

Recycling composite wind turbine blades

Challenge closes in:

2021-05-21 17:00


Can you convert discarded fibreglass-reinforced composites into new high-grade raw materials?

More and more wind turbines are approaching the end of their useful life, after which they are dismantled and recycled. The vast majority of windmill parts can be recycled just fine, but the turbine blades are made of fibreglass-reinforced composite and are difficult to recycle with available technologies. 

Strict EU rules prevent the disposal of the turbine blades in landfills, while incinerating the blades in kilns used to make cement or power plants is rather inefficient and polluting.

We expect several thousand wind turbines to be decommissioned in the coming years, which means that 500 to 1,000 tonnes of composites will have to be processed every month.

The reduction and separation of composites, copper wires, steel and wood will mark an important step, but the main challenge is recycling the composites into valuable products.

What are we looking for?

We must be able to use the product created thanks to the new recycling method for new, high-grade applications. We are looking for a solution that can handle large volumes of at least 500 tonnes per month.

The new method should be fully operational by 2025 at the latest, but earlier is better, of course. The ideal location for this new solution is our site in Vlissingen-Oost, where we have already carried out market studies into the end-of-life-cycle vision of wind farm owners. We have also conducted shredder pilots with equipment generally used to recycle wood, but this failed to produce the desired result.

Small-scale tests are currently taking place worldwide with:

  • Mechanical recycling, where the composites are ground into powder for the cement industry. (Low-grade application.)
  • Chemical recycling to dissolve the resin and recover the fibres.
  • Thermal recycling to recover fibres through pyrolysis.


What aren’t we looking for?

We are not looking for low-grade solutions, such as crushing or incineration, in which the material’s origin properties are lost. Reusing the turbine blades as they are now is also beyond the scope of this challenge. Participants will not have to engage with the wind turbine owners, we will take care of all talks and negotiations.


What’s in it for you?

A workable, new method would have tremendous potential. Every year, tens of thousands of tonnes of composites are expected to be made available for processing. In addition, there are spin-off opportunities in other sectors (e.g., boats, automotive) that need to process composite residuals.

We have a budget for any project that will lead to a workable solution to this challenge. We can offer practical and financial assistance in setting up a test/production location at our site in Vlissingen-Oost. If additional expertise is required, we can call upon our network of suppliers and partners. We are open to collaborating with educational and knowledge institutions.

If the pilot is successful, applicants can expect follow-up projects and close cooperation.


How can BioVoice benefit you?

  • An innovation contract with a launching customer/partner!
  • Funding (€10,000 vouchers, to be spent in the regional ecosystem for e.g. testing, lab and demo facilities, IP consulting, etc.)
  • Coaching and counselling
  • A stage and free publicity
  • Knowledge and contact with experts
  • Access to a network of potential partners & customers, resources and research facilities


The BioVoice programme

BioVoice is an initiative of REWIN West-Brabant, Green Chemistry Campus, the joint Rabobanks of Southwest Netherlands and the province of North Brabant. Dockwize, Impuls Zeeland, Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy and Midpoint Brabant have also joined as implementation partners. Together, we want to give innovative entrepreneurs and up-and-coming biobased/circular talents the space and opportunities to develop and market their idea/product, so as to achieve our common goal: accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy.

BioVoice is made possible by financial contributions from the Regional Deal for Central and Western Brabant, the Province of North Brabant, the Province of Zeeland and Rabobank.  


Conditions of participation

We are initially looking for a method that will allow us to process large quantities of material. This method should be suitable for scaling up to 500 tonnes per month in a reasonable period of time, and ultimately up to 1,000 tonnes per month.


Your pitch (max 6 pages / 18 slides)

  • Concept description: Describe your concept in as much detail as possible.
  • Pilot description: Please provide a brief description of what it will take to prototype and/or pilot and what you will need from us to do so.
  • Team description: Provide a brief description of the company and team that plans to work on the pilot.

There are no formal requirements for the pitch (presentations, slide decks & letters are all allowed), apart from the fact that it must be uploaded as a PDF file (A4, landscape or portrait) with a max. size of 30MB. Videos, example websites and so on can be included as links.  



  • 29 March ’21: Challenge launch – open for applications
  • 21 May ’21 – 5:00 pm: Challenge deadline – sign up no later than 5 pm
  • 4 June ’21: Longlist announced – A longlist of start-ups/scale-ups that are invited to meet the challengers is announced
  • 14-25 June ’21: Digital introduction meetings with challengers & participants + information session about confidentiality and IP
  • 2 July ’21: Shortlist announced based on interviews – A shortlist of start-ups/scale-ups that will be given the opportunity to work on an innovation contract is announced
  • 5-11 July ’21: Make schedule & working agreements + coordinate NDA if necessary
  • 12 July through 6 October ’21: Challenge weeks – sessions with challengers, participants & coaches to arrive at an innovation contract
  • 29 September ’21: Apply for vouchers – submit draft innovation contract + apply for vouchers
  • 6 October ’21: Vouchers awarded – submit final innovation contract + vouchers are awarded
  • 14 October ’21: Match event – celebrating the innovation contracts and partnerships + presentation of vouchers
  • 15 October ’21: Start of development & collaboration (pilot)



If you have any questions about this challenge, please head to the contact options below. For more information about the challenge program, click here.  


Background information

Sagro is a multidisciplinary company that operates in infrastructure, demolition, logistics, the environment, and recycling. Through product development and acquisitions, the company has grown into an enterprise with more than 250 employees working at various locations in the Netherlands. Sagro in Zeeland is a family business that revolves entirely around quality and people. Quality in the products and services we provide, as well as quality in how we operate; safely and thoughtfully.

Sagro specialises in the demolition, dismantling, recycling and storage and transfer of waste. We focus mainly on industrial projects, such as factories, offshore structures, ships and more. We make sure that all residuals are processed into high-grade raw materials, construction materials and other products.

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