With the looming dangers of climate change, Many countries have been looking for green energy alternatives to keep the power up. One of these green and sustainable solutions is wind energy.
What is Wind Energy?
Wind energy is any form of power produced by the use of air currents. These currents occur naturally and can be used to turn turbines with then convert the motion into renewable energy.
How is wind captured?
This a question lingering in many minds. Wind is harnessed by the use of Turbine blades which turn when wind blows. These turbines are specially engineered to create a large surface area to enable the wind to turn the heavy and huge turbines.
These windmills are so big in that they stand minimum of 50 meters high while the blades can span over 40 meters.
A normal wind farm has hundreds of these structures to harness as much wind power. For instance, in the United States, wind power has been used to light over 600 homes.
What is the Problem?
With the increasing demand for wind energy, more wind farms have and are being constructed. The high demand, however, has created a major significant problem.
Despite wind generated energy having less contamination to the environment, damaged or old wind turbines are posing a critical environmental problem.
According to Bloomberg.com; ” In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. Europe, which has been dealing with the problem longer, has about 3,800 coming down annually.”
The number of these blades is expected to increase as more wind farms are created and as they age. The main problem lies in the composite material used to make the blades. For instance, according to the coloradosun.com , an estimated 2000 turbines are powering the area. With a lifespan of 20 years, these will end up in landfills in no time.
As much as all other materials can be recycled, fiberglass is both difficult to disposed and reuse. Despite trials for it be used as fuel in cement factories, burning of fibre glass emits highly toxic gases that can contaminate the air.
Secondly, the huge size of the blades makes it impossible for them to be transported. And when they are sent to landfills, they consume so much space and can cause environmental degradation.
However, all is not lost as all the relevant parties are working towards creating methods that can safely reuse or dispose of the blades.