Awards 2022

Recycling wind blade’s PVC rigid foams by glycolysis


Rigid PVC foams are complex materials in which PVC is semi-interpenetrated into a polyurea/isocyanurate network. These foams are used in many structural applications including wind blade cores. However, because of the multicomponent and cross-linked structure, they are difficult to recycle into valuable materials, and at present they are mostly landfilled. At the University of Ferrara, in collaboration with DIAB, we have developed a new process based on the depolymerisation by glycolysis of the crosslinked portion of the foam, enabling the recovery by filtration of 90 % pure PVC. Furthermore, the non-PVC fraction of the foam after glycolysis was successfully used as a chain extender to produce thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).