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Wind Turbines

Comments

  • #2


    they're made of composites, so very difficult to recycle. some companies are making noise about recycling them, but in general, the claim is true.


  • #2


    I guess they can be some way shredded and take up less space in the ground


  • #2


    They are mostly hollow so yes.

    Glass and carbon fibres aren't reusable but the raw materials are plentiful and most of the cost is fabrication

    The epoxy or other glue / binder is usually thermosetting so not reusable. Raw materials are usually fossil fuel based so this is a much better use than in a thermal power plant.

    If volumes of a standard typo of blade are enough it might be possible to go to aluminium ones , but huge setup costs.


  • #2


    They're difficult to dispose of but to be frank compared to the mountains of rubbish we create from other sources it's not as big a problem as some make of it

    There's projects looking at repurposing them for other uses. Building insulation or fill material is one idea

    Or there's this idea from Cork
    https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/06/18/old-wind-turbines-are-being-reborn-as-bridges-in-ireland


  • #2


    In Ireland alone, over 11,000 tons of blades are due to be decommissioned by 2025

    There's just no comparison to how much fossil fuel one power station in the UK used to use.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/feb/25/greenwash-drax-power-plant
    Drax still burns a staggering 30,000 tonnes of coal a day. Instead of getting it from down the road, though, it gets at least half from South Africa and from Kuznetsk in south-west Siberia.


  • #2


    In Ireland alone, over 11,000 tons of blades are due to be decommissioned by 2025
    say that's 11k tons in three years. it's one three thousandth of the waste ireland will produce in the same period.


  • #2


    I know a guy who has a working prototype system for recycling fibreglass, composites and other "non recyclable plastics". Living in a French coastal town, he was inspired to develop the system after seeing the massive quantities of fibreglass boat hulls being dumped in landfill. The process is fairly simple - grind up the product, use simple physics to separate out what's truly recyclable and the rest is turned into filler/padding for new moulded products.

    Unfortunately, as is often the case, he's come up against no end of trouble trying to get local authorities to send him their rubbish, because they've signed medium and long-term contracts with other recyclers who cream off the most valuable waste and dump the rest. I've just received the annual newsletter from my own townland's waste company, on the one hand bragging about how great a job they're doing on reducing what they send to landfill, and on the other, telling me/us/the public that we need to "do more" to stop putting supposedly non-recyclable waste into the recycling bins/bags and to throw it in the black bin instead. :rolleyes:


  • #2


    I know a guy who has a working prototype system for recycling fibreglass, composites and other "non recyclable plastics". Living in a French coastal town, he was inspired to develop the system after seeing the massive quantities of fibreglass boat hulls being dumped in landfill. The process is fairly simple - grind up the product, use simple physics to separate out what's truly recyclable and the rest is turned into filler/padding for new moulded products.

    Unfortunately, as is often the case, he's come up against no end of trouble trying to get local authorities to send him their rubbish, because they've signed medium and long-term contracts with other recyclers who cream off the most valuable waste and dump the rest. I've just received the annual newsletter from my own townland's waste company, on the one hand bragging about how great a job they're doing on reducing what they send to landfill, and on the other, telling me/us/the public that we need to "do more" to stop putting supposedly non-recyclable waste into the recycling bins/bags and to throw it in the black bin instead. :rolleyes:

    Yeah it's pretty annoying when you see soany food products sold in non recyclable containers

    I honestly think we don't need to reinvent the wheel with this one. When the plastic bag tax was introduced, everyone stopped using plastic bags

    Introduce taxes on non recyclable packaging materials and consumers will demand recyclable packaging soon enough


  • #2


    i suspect that's a complex issue, in that say for example, pringles claim their packaging is recyclable; but if it's not economically viable to do so, or no one does it - does the onus lie on the producer to produce recyclable packaging, or on the recycler to recycle it?

    e.g. if the waste recyclers here were to stop accepting aluminium cans, the drinks industry could cry foul that they're the ones being penalised.


  • #2


    I know a guy who has a working prototype system for recycling fibreglass, composites and other "non recyclable plastics". Living in a French coastal town, he was inspired to develop the system after seeing the massive quantities of fibreglass boat hulls being dumped in landfill. The process is fairly simple - grind up the product, use simple physics to separate out what's truly recyclable and the rest is turned into filler/padding for new moulded products.

    The boat example is a difficult one, as I know from several in-depth studies and projects that I have been involved in. The amount of fibreglass from end of life boats is not significant enough to make it a meaningful commercial operation in any ongoing capacity. Then there is the labour involved in stripping the boat out of all the other materials attached and bonded to the fibreglass. Finally, it is a matter of debate whether the environmental impact of recycling a fibreglass boat is greater than the impact of using new materials. Essentially, is it worth the energy (literally) to recycle when less is used to produce from new?


  • #2


    Yeah it's pretty annoying when you see soany food products sold in non recyclable containers

    What I'm seeing is a refusal to take recyclable containers. Or municipalities making life difficult. We had an example, here in France, where the local town council refused permission for a supermarket to install a PET drinks bottle collector-crusher - because they'd just paid a massive load of money to subsidise a commercial (multinational) company to build a new sorting facility, and they didn't want ordinary citizens giving the valuable PET to someone else in exchange for money. :rolleyes:
    Tabnabs wrote: »
    The boat example is a difficult one, as ... The amount of fibreglass from end of life boats is not significant enough to make it a meaningful commercial operation in any ongoing capacity.

    That was exactly the problem addressed by my acquaintance. The same difficulty faces many other sectors - including the composite sails of wind turbines - where it's traditionally seen as uneconomic to recycle a recyclable compound, but only because well-established companies like to stick with their old-style equipment. My acquaintance's next target (if he can get past the administrative inertia) was to start recycling asbestos using a minor tweak of the same production line.


  • #2


    i suspect that's a complex issue, in that say for example, pringles claim their packaging is recyclable; but if it's not economically viable to do so, or no one does it - does the onus lie on the producer to produce recyclable packaging, or on the recycler to recycle it?

    e.g. if the waste recyclers here were to stop accepting aluminium cans, the drinks industry could cry foul that they're the ones being penalised.

    I think there's always someone who loses out when you introduce taxes to change behaviours

    People have this hatred of paying for things they don't have to, even if it costs them more in the long run to avoid it. Taking plastic bags as an example, the reusable bags used to cost several euros when they first came out.

    You'd need to use a reusable bag 10 or 20 times before the they paid for themselves. Likely in that time you'd forget to bring the bags and end up paying for more and arguably you could just reuse the plastic bags and have a cheaper option

    And yet people stopped using plastic bags almost straight away, mostly I suspect because they just hated the idea of paying for something they deemed disposable


  • #2


    You don't have to look far for creative alternatives to landfill for end-of-life turbine blades:

    https://www.re-wind.info/


  • #2


    What I'm seeing is a refusal to take recyclable containers. Or municipalities making life difficult. We had an example, here in France, where the local town council refused permission for a supermarket to install a PET drinks bottle collector-crusher - because they'd just paid a massive load of money to subsidise a commercial (multinational) company to build a new sorting facility, and they didn't want ordinary citizens giving the valuable PET to someone else in exchange for money. :rolleyes:



    That was exactly the problem addressed by my acquaintance. The same difficulty faces many other sectors - including the composite sails of wind turbines - where it's traditionally seen as uneconomic to recycle a recyclable compound, but only because well-established companies like to stick with their old-style equipment. My acquaintance's next target (if he can get past the administrative inertia) was to start recycling asbestos using a minor tweak of the same production line.

    It is a complicated affair. I would say that diverting PET away from the domestic and commercial kerbside collection does have a negative impact- PET and aluminium are the two relatively valuable waste streams in the bin, they subsidise the cost of recycling paper, tetrapaks and the the less valuable plastics. Don't get me wrong, some of the waste companies are part of global entities and the shareholders are the only real winners- but deposit return schemes aren't the panacea some think of them as.

    Recycling asbestos I wouldn't think has any legs though- how can it be brought back into use given it's toxicity?


  • #2


    hirondelle wrote: »
    It is a complicated affair. I would say that diverting PET away from the domestic and commercial kerbside collection does have a negative impact- PET and aluminium are the two relatively valuable waste streams in the bin, they subsidise the cost of recycling paper, tetrapaks and the the less valuable plastics. Don't get me wrong, some of the waste companies are part of global entities and the shareholders are the only real winners- but deposit return schemes aren't the panacea some think of them as.

    Recycling asbestos I wouldn't think has any legs though- how can it be brought back into use given it's toxicity?

    I'd be interested to hear how asbestos would be recycled.


  • #2


    hirondelle wrote: »
    I would say that diverting PET away from the domestic and commercial kerbside collection does have a negative impact- PET and aluminium are the two relatively valuable waste streams in the bin, they subsidise the cost of recycling paper, tetrapaks and the the less valuable plastics.

    That's the nub of the problem - when the concept of recycling is pushed as an "all or nothing" exercise, it encourages consumer-producers to think of everything as rubbish with little value; they see no difference between PET and an Amazon carton. If you incentivise people to selectively recycle the most valuable product, they won't just redirect a lot more of their own waste, but they'll actively collect it from other sources too (granny's shed, hedgerows, public litter bins ... )

    On the industry side, companies will exclude recyclables like soft plastic because it gets tangled in their sorting machine, and (like my waste company) tell householders to throw it in the black bin instead. At one point, a few years ago, my black bin waste was about 90% soft plastic ... not any more. :cool: And then you have the situation where the industrial recyclers don't, in fact, subsidise recycling the low value waste - they just ship it off to some far-away island in Asia.
    hirondelle wrote: »
    Recycling asbestos I wouldn't think has any legs though- how can it be brought back into use given it's toxicity?
    einn32 wrote: »
    I'd be interested to hear how asbestos would be recycled.

    Asbestos isn't toxic - it's a highly stable product and resists all kinds of abuse, which is how it came to be so widely used - but its particles have a peculiarly spiky structure that embed themselves deep in lung tissue and provoke a malignant reaction.

    The proposed process (in the simplest terms) was to fuse the asbestos particles with the fibreglass waste to create a spike-free product.


  • #2


    That's the nub of the problem - when the concept of recycling is pushed as an "all or nothing" exercise, it encourages consumer-producers to think of everything as rubbish with little value; they see no difference between PET and an Amazon carton. If you incentivise people to selectively recycle the most valuable product, they won't just redirect a lot more of their own waste, but they'll actively collect it from other sources too (granny's shed, hedgerows, public litter bins ... )

    On the industry side, companies will exclude recyclables like soft plastic because it gets tangled in their sorting machine, and (like my waste company) tell householders to throw it in the black bin instead. At one point, a few years ago, my black bin waste was about 90% soft plastic ... not any more. :cool: And then you have the situation where the industrial recyclers don't, in fact, subsidise recycling the low value waste - they just ship it off to some far-away island in Asia.





    Asbestos isn't toxic - it's a highly stable product and resists all kinds of abuse, which is how it came to be so widely used - but its particles have a peculiarly spiky structure that embed themselves deep in lung tissue and provoke a malignant reaction.

    The proposed process (in the simplest terms) was to fuse the asbestos particles with the fibreglass waste to create a spike-free product.

    But it's still asbestos containing?


  • #2


    einn32 wrote: »
    But it's still asbestos containing?
    Some asbestos contains very tiny pieces of sharp glass. When your white blood cells engulf them the sharp edges pierce the cells and they burst. And each piece of glass can keep killing whitee blood cells because it's still sharp.

    It's not poisonous. So once you melt the glass it's no longer dangerous.


    Large pieces can't be engulfed , smaller pieces won't burst the cells. The problem is that some kinds of asbestos has particles of the wrong size.


  • #2


    Some asbestos contains very tiny pieces of sharp glass. When your white blood cells engulf them the sharp edges pierce the cells and they burst. And each piece of glass can keep killing whitee blood cells because it's still sharp.

    It's not poisonous. So once you melt the glass it's no longer dangerous.


    Large pieces can't be engulfed , smaller pieces won't burst the cells. The problem is that some kinds of asbestos has particles of the wrong size.

    So how do you melt the glass?


  • #2


    einn32 wrote: »
    But it's still asbestos containing?

    After treatment, no - it'd be transformed into an alternative material. There are already ways of doing this, e.g. using microwaves or ultrasound but for the most part asbestos waste goes straight to landfill.

    The hazards associated with removing it from buildings and transporting it to a disposal site wouldn't change; my acquaintance's proposal was simply to use it as a raw material to help with the disposal of another "challenging" waste product and keep two relatively benign materials out of landfill sites.


  • #2


    After treatment, no - it'd be transformed into an alternative material. There are already ways of doing this, e.g. using microwaves or ultrasound but for the most part asbestos waste goes straight to landfill.

    The hazards associated with removing it from buildings and transporting it to a disposal site wouldn't change; my acquaintance's proposal was simply to use it as a raw material to help with the disposal of another "challenging" waste product and keep two relatively benign materials out of landfill sites.

    Thanks. Interesting information. What asbestos based products can be treated? Cement sheet/pipe, mastic, zelemite and what about friable asbestos?

    It's cheaper to put to landfill I presume. Like most issues with recycling it boils down to economics. Waste is a business after all. The energy and legalities to get an asbestos treatment facility up and running would be insane I would think.


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