This year’s Poul la Cour Award goes to Anne Velenturf, a Senior Research Fellow in Circular Economy at the University of Leeds. She has conducted important research in the fields of recyclability of renewables infrastructure and the circular economy. And her work contributes greatly to a sustainable wind industry development.
Sustainability is a top priority for wind energy sector. With WindEurope’s call for a landfill ban of turbine blades by 2025 recycling, remanufacturing and reusing have become increasingly important topics. Current wind turbine models can already be recycled for 85-90%. And although the industry is coming up with solutions, turbine blades remain more challenging to recycle due to the complex composite materials they are made of.
In the light of these developments the work of Anne Velenturf is paramount. Her research into a circular economy framework for wind energy urges the industry to do more to deliver the most sustainable wind farms possible– both on- and offshore.
Prior to this year’s awarding of the Poul la Cour Award the selection criteria were expanded to include the many new professional areas like circularity, digitalisation, sustainability and others that have grown up around the wind industry. It is a recognition that today these new professions are just as important as the core part the industry.
The Award is handed to people for their outstanding achievements in the wind industry and is named after Poul La Cour – a Danish physicist, meteorologist, inventor and folk high school teacher. Today la Cour is especially recognised for his early work on wind power, both experimental work on aerodynamics and practical implementation of wind power plants.
Awarding of the prize takes place in cooperation between WindEurope and the Poul la Cour Foundation. The prize is awarded every other year. An appointed Selection Committee of four persons, representing science and industry of wind power in Europe chooses the winner.
WindEurope Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik said: “Anne Velenturf’s research will have a great impact on the sustainability and circularity of the wind industry. Congratulations on your good work and for the well-deserved award. It is great to see the award going to a young female scientist. Countless women play active and key roles in our industry. It is important this is recognised and the participation of women in our industry is facilitated.”
The Poul la Cour Foundation’s Chairman Bjarke Thomassen says: “The expansion of the selection criteria has led to a larger spread in the candidates’ subject area compared to before. The election of Anne Velenturf has shown that in these new subject areas there are highly qualified people with an invaluable knowledge for the future development of the wind turbine industry. Many congratulations to Anne Velenturf.”
Anne Velenturf said: “It’s such an honour to receive this award. I was so surprised. I am hugely grateful to those who nominated me and the awarding panel. Thank you very much! I have very much enjoyed working with the wind industry since 2017 and am amazed about the speed at which circular economy approaches are starting to be picked up. For the sustainable upscaling of wind energy infrastructure, it is essential to consider circular economy proactively from the design stage onwards.”