Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

MSCA-COFUND-CLEAR-Doc - PhD Position #CD21-26 "Improvement Of The Circularity Of Decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades By Reuse As Smart Composite Infrastructures"

This job offer has expired

    Université Gustave Eiffel
    EngineeringMechanical engineering
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/03/2022 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Nantes
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND



The European Union (EU) has made renewable energies a priority by setting the very ambitious objective of increasing the renewable energies produced to the tune of 30% in 2030 and 50% in 2050. Thus, wind energy has satisfied 15% of European needs in 2019, which demonstrates its privileged place in the European energy strategy. Wind turbine blades (lifespan between 20 and 25 years) are made of composite materials with thermosetting matrices, irreversibly stiffened and infusible, non-transformable and therefore almost non-recyclable. Recycling also requires heavy resources in logistics and technology in order to fully reintegrate the downgraded blades into the value chain. This constitutes a big problem, especially when the elements in composite materials are of large dimensions (case of wind turbine blades). The projections of WindEurope (Association for the promotion of European wind power) at the start of 2023 show that 4GW could be completely dismantled, which is equivalent to 14,000 blades and therefore 60,000 tonnes of composite waste to be permanently eliminated (their recycling is a priority of European wind industry). These figures should increase in the years to come, hence the European urgency to find a lasting solution based on industries and sectors that can use products derived from decommissioned wind turbines, thus considerably strengthening the circularity potential of products. wind farms.

In addition, the MTES commissioned a study on the circularity of wind turbines and published a report in October 2019 recommending the introduction of EPR (European Products Recycling), an effective resource management tool through which producers assume responsibility. end of life management of their used products. In particular, the EPR encourages producers of blades to establish end-of-life management for their products and to design products that are easier to recycle while reducing the total environmental impact. The EPR also encourages the use of hierarchically higher management options than landfill, for recycling. The new law on the circular economy adopted on February 10, 2020 extended the responsibilities for EPR to new products, without however including the blades of wind turbines which it is estimated that joint efforts between authorities and industries would be more likely. to generate an effective solution.


In line with national priorities (MTES), the European policy and based on the considerable experience accumulated by Université G. Eiffel in projects on intelligent composite materials such as the National Large Bridge Project DECID2 and EVEREST Project of very large wind turbine blades set-up General Electric, the objective of this PhD thesis is to study within the LIA SenSIN-CT (LIA UGE-Politecnco Milan) the possibilities of reuse (second life) of wind turbine blades as elements of infrastructure (pedestrian bridges and cyclists, footbridges and special footbridges in aggressive environments, transportable construction elements ...). To do this, an action plan will be put in place with the help of MTES, CEREMA and an industrial manufacturer of blades (General Electric) in order to target 1 or 2 locations, as well as target crossing distances. At the end of this stage, a specification will be drawn up per use case and which will specify the normative properties (EUROCODES) that the infrastructures must display. Then, a robust evaluation method of the residual mechanical properties of the blades will be carried out in order to meet the specifications of the uses. A design of some structures and / or infrastructures (to be used as pedestrian and cycle bridges, small and medium span bridges) will be undertaken in SenSIN-CT (Department of Architecture of Politecnico Milan) and the proposed architectures will be modeled numerically in order to accurately predict the forces, assemblies and limitations of use.

The numerical models and related experimental validations will include appropriate structural health monitoring (SHM) technologies, ensuring efficient and resilient use. A junction will be made with CESAR LCPC software so that the different bricks of the models built within the PhD thesis can enrich its database, including the specificities of composite materials and assembly elements, including foundations, in order to provide a fully-integrated case study, ready to be used as a demonstrator. The thesis will provide an economic assessment of the costs linked to the re-use of wind turbines, which will provide a preliminary basis for comparison with other recycling strategies. The advantages of this project are numerous and can be for civil as well as military applications. For civil applications, the low weight of composite structures and therefore very light derivative bridges, their easy transportability, their intrinsic resistance to corrosion make them the structures of choice for city locations (including river crossings) and mountainous sites. very difficult to access. For the military applications, logistics are a big advantage in combat zones and one can imagine a plethora of military structures, including, for example, anti-ballistic shelters.

Thesis supervisor: Monssef DRISSI-HABTI (monssef.drissi-habti@univ-eiffel.fr), Director LIA SenSIN-CT

Monitoring committee :

  • V. Carvelli (Politecnico Milan), Co-Director LIA SenSIN-CT
  • Pierre Dorfdir, Technical Director, head of the civil engineering center - CEREMA
  • PDL region
  • General Electric (GE)
  • A. Khadour (Uni. Gustave Eiffel)
  • E. Bourgeois (Uni. Gustave Eiffel)

More Information


  • High-quality doctoral training rewarded by a PhD degree, delivered by Université Gustave Eiffel.
  • Access to cutting-edge infrastructures for research & innovation.
  • Appointment for a period of 36 months based on a salary of 2 700 € (gross salary per month).
  • Job contract under the French labour legislation in force, respecting health and safety, and social security: 35 hours per week contract, 25 days of annual leave per year.
  • International mobility will be mandatory.
  • An international environment supported by the adherence to the European Charter & Code.
  • Access to dedicated CLEAR-Doc trainings with a strong interdisciplinary focus, together with a Career development Plan.

Eligibility criteria

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree. At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.
  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research career (career breaks excluded) and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Career breaks refer to periods of time where the candidate was not active in research, regardless of his/her employment status (sick leave, maternity leave etc). Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account.

  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the call deadline.

  • Applicants must be available to start the programme on schedule (around 1st October 2022).

Selection process

Additional comments

  • The First step before applying is contacting the PhD supervisor. You will not be able to apply without an acceptation letter from the PhD supervisor.
  • Please contact the PhD supervisor for any additional detail on job offer.
  • There are no restrictions concerning the age, gender or nationality of the candidates. Applicants with career breaks or variations in the chronological sequence of their career, with mobility experience or with interdisciplinary background or private sector experience are welcome to apply.

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Engineering: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good
    FRENCH: Good


  • At the time of the deadline, applicants must be in possession or finalizing their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree.
  • At the time of recruitment, applicants must be in possession of their Master’s degree or equivalent/postgraduate degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

Specific Requirements

A secondment at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) is planned.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Université Gustave Eiffel
Allée des Ponts et Chaussées CS 5005

EURAXESS offer ID: 717437


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