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    Wind Turbine: Environmental Impact and Recycling


    August 3, 2022 - Pakistan Engineering Review

     

      Onshore wind farms can have a considerable impact on the landscape because they often require more land than other power plants and must be erected in remote and rural regions. Wind turbines also produce noise, which can reach 45 decibels (dB) at a residential distance of 300 meters (980 feet); however, at 1.5 kilometers (1 mile), most wind turbines become inaudible. Loud or continuous noise causes stress, which can lead to diseases. When correctly installed, wind turbines produce no noise that is harmful to human heal. Wind power does not require water for continuous operation and emits very few emissions that are directly related to the generation of electricity. Wind turbines produce small amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury, and radioactive waste when they are disconnected from the electric grid, in contrast to fossil fuel and nuclear energy station fuel generation, respectively.

      Neodymium is utilized in the creation of permanent magnets, which are employed in some wind turbines. Concerns over pollution from the mining of this rare-earth element, which is mostly exported by China, have motivated government action in recent years, as well as international research efforts to improve the extraction process. Blades of modified wind turbines are composed of composite plastic/fiberglass designs with a service life of fewer than 20 years. There was no cost-effective technique or There is a market for these old blades to be recycled. as of February 2018, hence the most prevalent disposal method is to transport them to landfills.

      Other possibilities Included in the disposal of the blades are incinerating them or grinding them into powder, but both of these techniques are not only costly but also inefficient and waste energy. Although the foundation of the building, which is normally composed of reinforced concrete, and the blades cannot be recycled, up to 80% of the wind turbine construction can be recycled. Alternatively, these turbine structural components that are difficult to recycle into new turbines might be repurposed and utilized in various ways.

      The blades could potentially be recycled into building materials and structural components, such as aggregate in concrete utilizing composite material made from the blades. According to existing research, turbine blades could be successfully poles that have been reused as electrical transmission poles because their strength and structural stability are comparable to that of traditional materials. Roofs for small houses have been made from blade sections., and these structures exceed building code standards. This could prove to be a practical solution to reuse blade components without requiring considerable processing. Wind farms are frequently constructed on land that has already been cleared.

      When compared to coal mines and coal-fired power plants, wind farms require minimal vegetation clearing and ground disturbance. The terrain can be restored to its previous state if wind farms are decommissioned. Wind-energy proponents argue that just 1% of the land is utilized for foundations and access roads, leaving 99 percent of the land available for agriculture. The base for a wind turbine requires approximately 200-400 m2. Farming and cattle grazing are still possible on the property. Wind farms have little impact on cattle. Livestock will graze right up to the base of wind turbines and will often graze right up to the base of wind turbines and utilize them as rubbing posts or for shade, according to international experience.

      The impact of wind energy on birds is complicated, as they can fly into turbines directly or have their habitats harmed indirectly as a result of wind development. Wind farms may have an impact on the weather in their near surroundings. The turbulence created by spinning wind turbine rotors enhances the vertical mixing of heat and water vapor, which has an impact on downwind meteorological conditions, including rainfall.

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