Which wind turbines are the best?
The ones built with the best and most appropriate technology, of course.
The blades from giant wind turbines are made of composite materials because they must be extremely light and strong to do their job.
Those blades are now turning into an “unexpected” problem, which may only increase in the next years: they just don’t break. When operators try to crush and compact sections of the blades, they risk breaking the compacting equipment instead. Eventually, some landfills “just decide they can’t accept such blades”.
An expert commented that maybe (just maybe) “we as a society” did not properly considered, years ago, what would happen to the blades as older turbines are repowered. What happened, instead, was exactly the same thing that has happened with practically every new technology until now:
- There wasn’t a recycling plan in place since the start
- When they started to adopt huge wind turbines, companies just trusted technology: “[we] believed a blade recycling option would emerge. Thus far, it hasn’t”
That option may be… to go back to the future
There are proposals to How to Make Wind Power Sustainable Again, and it to make blades, at least partially, with laminated wood. Computer assisted manufacturing makes it easy to cut even large pieces of wood in complex shapes.
Yes, wind turbines with wooden blades would not be as efficient as those using composite materials.
But those stories from the landfills show that maybe the “total cost of ownership” calculation were not done properly, back in the day. Time to make them again, taking into account all the factors mentioned in that “wooden wind turbines” piece.
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