WINDMILL BLADES POSE ENVIRONMENTAL, ENERGY, ENGINEERING CHALLENGE
Thousands of giant windmills are being constructed annually in the United States, creating a burgeoning environmental question: how will we handle upcoming piles these behemoth 22,000-pound, 170-foot blades as they are decommissioned? Researchers at Washington State University are working with Seattle-based Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc. to find recycling and manufacturing solutions.
“Talk about clean energy – that’s enough garbage to really fill a landfill," said Karl Englund, a research associate professor at WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture who has spent more than a decade finding innovative solutions for waste materials in the Composite Materials Engineering Center.
The trick to creating a successful recycling effort is to keep the process economical and simple, he said. Fancy thermal or chemical treatments, for instance, will raise the cost of recycling.
“If you’re going to use a bunch of chemicals or energy to make a product, it’s not going to be worth it,’’ he said. “Any added energy, labor and chemicals will significantly add costs to a material that is already considered a waste product."
See article and photos at https://news.wsu.edu/?p=140693#engineering #recycling #energy #environment #WSU #materials