A trial using a GE blade had been completed last year, he added, while over 100 turbine blades had been processed this fall. Retrofitting existing turbine designs with longer blades that incorporate carbon has become a shortcut to marketability. In the meantime, Bratvold and his co-workers have set aside about a half dozen blades and in coming months, they’ll experiment with methods to squeeze them into smaller footprints. That’s created an urgent search for alternatives in places that lack wide-open prairies. FOCUSED. On the south side, bars that double as liquor stores welcome cigarette smokers and day drinkers. In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. MFG Wind has resourced each facet to ensure customer satisfaction for the life of each blade. Until then, municipal and commercial dumps will take most of the waste, which the American Wind Energy Association in Washington says is safest and cheapest. Modern wind power converts the kinetic (movement) energy from wind into mechanical energy. This aim, it added, would be reached through the introduction of a "circular economy approach" in the design, production, service and end-of-life parts of the value chain. Wind farms, common in Wyoming, overlook the Casper landfill. There’s a lot of interest in this.”. The "multi-year agreement" relates to blades removed from onshore wind turbines in the United States. It plans another operation in Iowa. The Invenergy Judith Gap wind farm in central Montana, uses 90 wind turbines from GE. The dramatic growth of wind industry over the past 20 years has resulted in an extensive amount of end-of-life rotor blades. We've reached a 'turning point' on the electrification of vehicles, Nissan executive says, Italy's Eni to buy 20% stake in world's largest offshore wind farm, UK announces 'ambitious' plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 68%. GFS says it’s the first U.S.-based company to commercially recycle fiberglass wind turbine blades. The first wind farm in the U.S. was installed in New Hampshire in 1980, and California deployed thousands of turbines east of San Francisco across the Altamont Pass. They are ecologically quite sound. The issue of what to do with wind turbine blades when they're no longer needed creates a number of challenges. Referencing analysis carried out by Quantis U.S., GE Renewable Energy said blade recycling would allow for a "27% net reduction in CO2 emissions from cement production." We currently have two dedicated blade factories located in mid-America. Until large-scale recycling is widely available, landfills must accommodate defunct blades. "By adding wind turbine blades — which are primarily made of fiberglass — to replace raw materials for cement manufacturing, we are reducing the amount of coal, sand and minerals that are needed to produce the cement," Bob Cappadona, chief operating officer for VNA's Environmental Solutions and Services division, said in a statement issued Tuesday. All Rights Reserved. So, basically, there is just too much plastic-composite-epoxy crapola that isn’t worth recycling. Up a gentle northern slope, a shooting club boasts of cowboy-action pistol ranges. REVELANT. Built to withstand hurricane-force winds, the blades can’t easily be crushed, recycled or repurposed. FREE . Wind power is carbon-free and about 85% of turbine components, including steel, copper wire, electronics and gearing can be recycled or reused. But the fiberglass blades … “It’s always best to do a system-level design — treating the rotor, the turbine, and the tower as one system — but the reality is that the energy market is so competitive and everyone is so worried about what their competitors are doing, that they often don’t have time to do a system-level design,” explains Wetzel… Back in January, Danish business Vestas said it was aiming to produce "zero-waste" wind turbines by the year 2040. Photographer: Benjamin Rasmussen for Bloomberg Green, Explore dynamic updates of the earth’s key data points. “We came up with some crazy ideas,” Cappadona said. Some component parts MFC has the capability of producing components such as nacells, blades, tail veins, blade … What materials are used to make wind turbines? It pointed to an Electric Power Research Institute study that estimates all blade waste through 2050 would equal roughly .015% of all the municipal solid waste going to landfills in 2015 alone. The principle design of commercial turbines today are horizontal axis wind turbines consisting of a rotor with three fiberglass blades attached to a hub, which is itself attached to a central piece (the nacelle) that is mounted on a steel tower. Warren Buffett’s utility has been replacing the original blades and turbines with larger, more powerful models after a decade of operation. This happens through the turning of large fiberglass blades, which then … Veolia’s North American unit will shred the fiberglass blades at a site in Missouri and convert them into a material that can replace coal, sand and clay at cement manufacturing facilities. They tower over pumpjacks known as nodding donkeys that pull oil from wells. While acknowledging that burying blades in perpetuity isn’t ideal, Bratvold, the special waste technician, was surprised by some of the negative reactions when a photo of some early deliveries went viral last summer. In a pilot project last year, Veolia tried grinding them to dust, looking for chemicals to extract. But their energy content is weak and uneven and the burning fiberglass emits pollutants. According to the paper, waste produced by wind turbine blades could hit an estimated 43.4 million metric tons by the year 2050. A worker walks past wind turbine blades awaiting transport in Fort Madison, Iowa. “We’ll get the rest when the weather breaks this spring.”. The research looked at waste produced by factors such as the manufacturing process, operation and maintenance as well as the end of a blade's life. Back in Wyoming, in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain, lies Casper, where wind farms represent both the possibilities and pitfalls of the shift from fossil fuels. Trump Wants To Sell A Dictator $23 Billion In Weapons. Cappadona went on to state that this would ultimately result in "greener cement that can be used for a variety of products." Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. “That’s the end of it for this winter,” said waste technician Michael Bratvold, watching a bulldozer bury them forever in sand. The wind turbine blades are a toxic amalgam of unique composites, fiberglass, epoxy, polyvinyl chloride foam, polyethylene terephthalate foam, balsa wood, and polyurethane coatings. Each blade is cut into pieces for transport and stacked for efficiency. The boom-bust oil town was founded at the turn of the 19th century. Scientists are trying to find better ways to separate resins from fibers or to give small chunks new life as pellets or boards. Modern models emerged after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, when shortages compelled western governments to find alternatives to fossil fuels. A Division of NBCUniversal. Recommended to you based on your activity and what's popular • Feedback The thermoplastic fiberglass pellets are suitable for injection molding and extrusion manufacturing processes, according to a company press release. Turbine blades can be bigger than the wing of a Boeing 747, and many of them end up in landfills once they’re removed from service. The company is currently scaling up and plans to boost production capacity by the end of this year. As explained by Scientific American, conventional blades are made by materials layered on top of each other. Workers are experimenting with methods to fit more blades in their graves. For water consumption, this would see a net drop of 13%. A decade later, General Electric Co. made its 1.5 megawatt model—enough to supply 1,200 homes in a stiff breeze—an industry standard. We want to hear from you. Wind energy is one of the cheapest ways to reach that goal. 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