Analysis of the environmental impact on remanufacturing wind turbines

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Title: Analysis of the environmental impact on remanufacturing wind turbines
Author: Sosa Skrainka, Manuel
Abstract: To deliver clean energy the use of wind turbines is essential. In June 2011 there was an installed wind capacity equivalent to 211,000MW world-wide (WWEA, 2011). By the end of the year 2009 the U.S. had 35,100MW of wind energy installed capacity to generate electricity (AWEA, 2010). This industry has grown in recent years and is expected to grow even more in the future. The environmental impacts that will arise from the increased number of wind turbines and their end-of-life should be addressed, as large amounts of resources will be required to satisfy the current and future market demands for wind turbines. Since future 10MW wind turbines are expected to be as heavy as 1000 tons each, the study of the environmental response of profitable retirement strategies, such as remanufacturing for these machines, must be considered. Because of the increased number of wind turbines and the materials used, this study provides a comparison between the environmental impacts from remanufacturing the components installed inside the nacelle of multi-megawatt wind turbines and wind turbines manufactured using new components. The study methodology is the following: * Describe the life-cycle and the materials and processes employed for the manufacture and remanufacturing for components inside the nacelle. * Identify remanufacturing alternatives for the components inside the nacelle at the end of the expected life-time service of wind turbines. * Evaluate the environmental impacts from the remanufactured components and compare the results with the impacts of the manufacturing of new components using SimaPro. * Conduct sensitivity analysis over the critical parameters of the life cycle assessment * Propose the most environmentally friendly options for the retirement of each major component of wind turbines. After an analysis of the scenarios the goal of the study is to evaluate remanufacturing as an end-of-life option from an environmental perspective for commercial multi-megawatt wind turbines targeted for secondary wind turbine markets.
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Date: 2012-07-30

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