lucafo wrote: ↑
Thu May 12, 2022 7:40 pm
The whole 'recycling issue' with windmills is completely blown out of proportion by people seeking to demonize windmills. There is a perfectly fine end-of-life solution for composite materials: bury them. That's what happens to most of it, like aircraft parts and boats, which make up a far more significant composite waste stream than windmill blades do. And noone bats an eye about them, they're inert materials after all, which just lie there. But when it comes to windmills, people suddenly act like it's the end of the world.
Also, when comparing solid waste/kWh power produced, windmills perform much better than, say, coal. Yes, the mass of solid waste (ashes) per kWh produced power of coal is larger than the mass of composite waste produced per kWh of wind power produced (and not a bit more - around 200x more). That is excluding all the other wastes (CO2 and other gaseous emissions, water pollution, etc.) that coal also produces. What happens to those ashes - that are certainly not inert? They are buried or used as filler in construction material, from where they leach into ground water and do damage. And noone bats an eye. But when we bury a windmill blade... o my.
And then still, more and more companies are coming up with ways to recycle existing blades, or produce new materials that are recycling. Great, even better. But not a necessity - avoiding wind power because of the recyclability 'issue', while retaining a fossil status quo in place, is absolutely ludicrous.
For more on the topic: https://medium.com/climate-conscious/wi ... 61913dcbd9
Thanks for your mature take on the discussion and the provided data.
As I wrote previously, blades was just a example.
I am not neglecting any technology; there are problems on all of them and none could exist without the other - there is no carbon fiber for wind blades without oil.
By the way, what we should do with older or broken solar panel? Burn either?
What I mean is that there are lot of resources not put into account.
And, last, you are talking about the gains on burning windblades, but how much energy did you use to construct (produce carbon fiber), install, decommissioning, grind and finally burn? The energy do not comes from nothing; if it burns better you should have put some (lots of) energy on the process.
There is no simple solution and politics plays a big hole.
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Apologies, maybe my tone was a bit harsh. I've just seen the windmills give waste argument too often being used as a total disqualifier for windmills (on e.g. linkedin), it easily grinds my gears.
Of course, aside from not using energy, no method is without impact. Which is why life cycle analysis is such a useful tool, even if it will never be fully complete, and why I am a fan of true pricing on (environmental/social) impact, such that the expenses of a good represent (to the best degree possible) correlate with the real cost/impact, and not just with direct production costs excluding all externalities.
For the windmills, I did't say burn (I think?), but bury. Landfill. Put a load of sand on it. Doesn't sound very environmentally friendly maybe, but composites are rather harmless (certainly compared to landfilled ashes). I don;t know energy use of production, but cannot imagine it to be a huge factor. Certainly there are studies on that.