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If you follow the debate over renewable energy, fossil fuels and nuclear, you probably know the biggest selling point that proponents of solar and wind preach about. It’s clean. Wind power, in particular, pushes the fact that nothing gets burned, no carbon is generated… it’s just giant, beautiful turbine blades spinning in the breeze and cranking out electricity for the masses.
Turbine - Life - Wind - Farm - Researchers
While most of a turbine can be recycled or find a second life on another wind farm, researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller, higher-capacity versions.
There aren’t many options to recycle or trash blades, and what options there are is expensive, partly because the U.S. wind industry is so young. It’s a waste problem that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be: a perfect solution for environmentalists looking to combat climate change, an attractive investment for companies such as Budweiser and Hormel Foods, and a job creator across the Midwest and Great Plains.
Tons - Turbine - Blades - Lot - Material
720,000 tons of turbine blades is a lot of material to dispose of. And because they have to be lightweight, yet strong, they’re made of a rather nasty combination of resins and fiberglass. Oh, and they’re still very heavy. And big. The blades range from 100 to 300 feet in length. Moving them requires special trucks and...
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