Plumbing Supplies for House Builders, Refurbishing Contractors, Home Owners, Local Authorities, Tradesmen & Hoteliers
It seems everywhere you look these days there are exciting innovations in carbon reduction technology. The latest surprising discovery is that recycled wind turbines can be used as a material for making ‘blade bridges’. There are as yet only two of these structures using repurposed wind turbine blades, one is in Poland and one in Ireland. This is not just an extremely novel idea, it represents a solution to a problem fast appearing on the horizon. Wind turbine blades are functional for around 20 to 25 years, after which time they are replaced. Although wind turbine blades look majestic from a distance, once they are decommissioned they take up huge amounts of landfill space. These blades are around 150 feet in length and weigh dozens of tons per blade.
Approximately 85% of wind turbine components can be reused or recycled, as they are made up of copper wire, steel, electronics and gearing materials. The rest, including the blades, are composed of fibre glass which present a waste disposal problem. The blade’s sturdy, fiber reinforced plastics do not break down easily, and incineration creates further pollution.
Civil engineer Kieran Ruane, a lecturer at Ireland’s Munster Technological University, saw the concept of bridges built from these blades as ‘immediately appealing’. He says: “It was a no-brainer that this needed to be investigated and trialled at least.” Ruane is also a member of Re-Wind, the research network behind Ireland’s new blade bridge.
Due to properties such as lightweightness, strength and weather resistance, the blades are ideal as engineering support structures. When used to form blade bridges wind turbine blades can last at least a hundred years. Public comments about the bridges have been 80 to 90% positive with some finding the appearance to be a bit strange. There are hopes that these blades will eventually be put to other uses such as contemporary and stylish outdoor furniture.
Rhinos Plant Hire are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, and this is just one of the many innovations they’ve witnessed in that time!
Bathrooms, Baths, Showers, Boilers, Heated Towel Rails, Plumbing & Heating Systems