Bridge of Blades

Wind energy is becoming a major source of renewable energy. As a result, a large stream of wind turbine materials arises. Most of these materials can be recycled very well, but the rotor blades pose a big problem after their lifespan of 20 years. These blades consist of complex composite materials that are doomed to end up in landfill or incineration plants, although the high performance material often still possesses excellent mechanical and chemical qualities.

For my Integrated Product Design master thesis, I developed a slow traffic bridge that uses these end-of-life wind turbine blades in its superstructure.

In order for a new product application to be viable, it is important that the material qualities of the blades are utilised and that the resulting product offers an advantage over its competition. The market potential was identified for the ‘Bridge of Blades’, and the product was designed to fit this purpose. The concept was developed regarding aesthetics, user interaction and structural performance. In the design, the previous life of the bridge is clearly visible. Two rotor blades cross the entire bridge and carry the bridge superstructure.

The design offers a constructive solution to one problem, prevents new problems and acts as an example to fuel debate about material use in the technologies of the future.

Since my graduation, the Bridge of Blades has gotten a lot of attention:

The design was showcased at the Dutch Design Week 2019, at the Embassy of Sustainable Design, Strijp T. I was interviewed by online platform 'Duurzaam Bedrijfsleven', who wrote an article about the project. Another article about the project was written by MaterialDistrict.

I also got the chance to present the project during the Bruggendag 2018 and the IQ/SmartPort Decommissioning Community Session 2019. A 4-page article was published in the June 2019 edition of the magazine Bruggen.

The past year, I have been working in a consortium with an international engineering agency, a contractor, blade producers and multiple municipalities to be able to manufacture the first Bridge of Blades.