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Torqeedo develops recycled plastic propellers

Torqeedo is testing alternative materials including recycled plastics for use in its propellers.

The electric and hybrid drive company has established an advanced engineering team that among other tasks, is exploring alternative materials to minimise the environmental impact of the company’s marine products.

The team is testing recycled ocean-bound PET and PP plastic pellets, which Torqeedo estimates will reduce the source material’s CO2 impact by more than 80%.

The plastics are very close in quality to virgin plastic due to strict processes and advanced recycling equipment.

“The typical way to integrate new materials is to start with a small percentage – maybe with just 10 or 20% recycled content, however, we decided to aim higher,” said Florian Deger, who leads the project within Torqeedo’s Advanced Engineering Team.

“We made our prototype propellers from 100% recycled ocean plastics, and we’re thrilled to report that they surpassed all benchmarks in the first round of environmental and stress testing.

Dr Alex Oswald and Florian Deger examine prototype props in Torqeedo's R&D lab
Dr Alex Oswald and Florian Deger examine prototype props in Torqeedo’s R&D lab

“After some slight adjustments, we will produce the next prototypes in Torqeedo orange. These will be very similar to the propellers that are in use today.

“It feels good to hold one of the prototypes in my hands and know we are keeping plastic bottles and pollution out of the waters we all love to explore on our boats.”

Fabian Bez, Torqeedo CEO, added: “While integrating ocean plastics into our products is just one step of many as Torqeedo helps to build a more sustainable marine industry, it’s also much more significant than just diverting plastic bottles.

“We’re helping to develop a circular plastic economy and transforming used plastics from trash to treasure. Collecting used plastic for recycling only becomes economically viable when there is a market for the recycled material, and we’re proud to lead the way in closing the loop.”

And he said that while many manufacturers hesitate to use recycled materials based on outdated perceptions of inferior material quality, Torqeedo believes a circular economy for plastics can be established without negatively impacting product performance and durability.

If the next testing rounds are as successful, the first Torqeedo products containing ocean-bound plastics are planned to be available in 2025.

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