Wind turbines produce renewable energy from air with a small footprint on the ground. This means they can get placed in various locations and offshore they can be massive (and therefore more efficient), but when the wind turbines reach the end of service their blades take up a lot space in landfills. Thankfully the blades can be reused to build bridges!
Even when they are no longer useful to produce electricity wind turbines live on in useful ways – another reason to build more turbines.
Originally a metals recycling company, Anmet started exploring ways to repurpose wind blades about seven years ago. Since then, it developed a small commercial businessmaking outdoor furnitureout of discarded wind turbine blades. Bridges, Sobczyk says, are the next area it would like to expand into commercially.
The company’s first blade bridge took about three years to test, permit, and build. After harvesting decommissioned blades from a wind farm in Germany, the blades were subjected to a battery of engineering tests in partnership with Poland’s Rzeszów University of Technology before being cut up to create the primary support structures for a pedestrian footbridge. In October, Amnet installed that bridge over a river in Szprotawa, the small town where the company is headquartered.
Last year we looked at a company testing floating wind turbines in Alaska and how they want to use these turbines in remote locations. The testing seems to be going well and other companies have taken note. The amount of potential energy high in the atmosphere is massive and these floating turbines are well suited to capture that energy.
Over at Gizmodo they looked into the future of how these wind turbines can be used and their potential for transforming how we produce energy.
This is all to say that we use a lot of power, and could probably harness a lot more of it using wind turbines. Which brings us back to the question we started with: What if we changed the climate with wind turbines? I know this sounds totally crazy, but I swear to you this is something that scientists have actually looked into. So naturally, I talked to one of those scientists.
Off the gird living just got a little easier thanks to inventor Daniel Connell who has put instructions on how to build a wind turbine for $30 online. It’s not the most efficient and powerful generator out there but anybody with basic knowledge of drills can build it.
Creating something that can deliver a few hundred watts–enough to pump water, say–might not be that difficult.Â Daniel Connell, who’s drawn up a blueprint to show you how, swears that anyone who “can cut paper and hold a drill” can manage it.
“I’m hoping the animation is such that nothing needs to be left to the imagination of the person following the tutorial,” he says via email.
See Connell’s 52-step tutorialÂ hereÂ and his animation below. It basically involves creating a template from paper, cutting aluminum into shapes, then bending and riveting the vanes to a bike wheel. The rest, as they say, is details.
This wind turbine which is designed to float in the air at a high altitude is meant to provide a small amount of power. The idea behind it is to bring sustainable power to remote areas or places where conventional wind turbines can’t be built.
The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground. The lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of blimps, which have lifted heavy communications equipment into the air for decades.
A small group of people have complained and argued that wind turbines can cause health problems. A new study confirms that those people are wrong and in fact wind turbines are not a health risk at all.
The study acknowledges that a minority of people find the intermittent swooshing noise emitted by the turbines’ giant blades to be annoying, but it also concluded: “Annoyance is not a pathological entity.”
The study says there’s “nothing unique” about the noise or vibrations emitted by wind turbines and no evidence that the audible or sub-audible sounds have any direct adverse effect on health.
It suggests that those who are bothered by turbines simply have a lower tolerance for annoying sounds of all sorts.
“A major cause of concern about wind turbine sound is its fluctuating nature. Some may find this sound annoying, a reaction that depends primarily on personal characteristics as opposed to the intensity of the sound level.”