Recycling wind turbines

Sep 21, 2007

The development of wind power promises much in terms of providing us with renewable energy for the future and wind turbines could be the most effective way to harness that power. Danish researchers now suggest that in order to assess the overall environmental impact of wind power, however, the finite lifespan of wind turbines and the need to replace and recycle them must be taken into account. Such an assessment will help policy makers and the industry to develop the green credentials of wind power more effectively.

Writing today in the Inderscience publication, International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, the researchers describe a prospective case study for managing environmental aspects of wind turbines. Their suggested plan for assessing the overall impact of installing and operating wind turbines should be adopted by the industry and policy makers, they say.

Wind turbines are one of the most environmentally sound technologies for producing electricity, explain the researchers. However, the removal and recycling phase of wind turbines has been identified as a blind spot in assessing their overall environmental impact. Most studies have ignored this phase and focused entirely on their operation and in some cases the production and installation of wind turbines.

Foresight and innovation analysts Per Dannemand Andersen and Mads Borup working with wind energy expert Thomas Krogh have devised a method for mapping and mitigating the negative environmental impacts of wind turbines which considers the future removal and recycling of offshore wind turbines up to the year 2050. By combining life-cycle assessment and taking into account future developments in this area of renewable energy, the team hopes that the wind power industry will be able to minimize any potential negative impact of their use.

"Because the wind-turbine industry is relatively young, there is only a limited amount of practical experience on the removal and recycling of wind turbines," Dannemand Andersen says, "It is likely to take more than 20 years before a substantial amount of practical experience regarding the dismantling, separation, recycling, disposal, etc., of wind-power systems is gained."

The present study has developed an interactive and process-oriented method for investigating the environmental impact of wind turbines removal and recycling. The team hopes that the industry will adopt their approach and so find ways to reduce any negative impacts of wind power.

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Urgent need to recycle rare metals

Feb 18, 2014

Rare earth metals are important components in green energy products such as wind turbines and eco-cars. But the scarcity of these metals is worrying the EU.

Treatment plant engineered for rising oceans

Jan 29, 2014

Climate change may not have been as prominent in the headlines in the 1980s as it is today, but it was certainly on the minds of engineers designing a new sewage-treatment plant for Boston.

Germany sells vision for 'green toys' to world

Feb 06, 2011

(AP) -- The hottest "green" toy in Germany isn't made of organic or recycled materials. That's so 2010. This one has a solar panel and only runs if kids remember to insert bright red "energy stones" that ...

5 Feasible Renewable Energy Sources

May 08, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- President Barack Obama has made no secret of his desire to develop a "green economy" that includes renewable energy projects meant to benefit the environment. He has said that part of the economic recovery in ...

Tech reliant on finite metal sources

Dec 03, 2013

(Phys.org) —Many of the metals needed to feed the surging global demand for high-tech products, from smart phones to solar panels, cannot be replaced, leaving some markets vulnerable if resources become ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

22 hours ago

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...