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How green are wind turbines ?

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by vmaxer, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Besides being butt ugly, a horrible blot on the landscape and extremely expensive to install, here's some interesting data :

    Now the typical build specifications of a standard 1,500 kilowatt wind turbine are as follows:

    The rotor assembly for one turbine – that’s the blades and rotor – weighs over 22,000 Kg and the nacelle, which contains the generator components, weighs over 52,000 Kg.

    All this sits on a turbine tower constructed from 80,000 Kg of rolled steel plate and in turn all this (blades, rotor, nacelle and tower) stands on a concrete base constructed from 26,000 Kg of reinforcing steel which also contains over 190 cubic metres of concrete (that’s over 190,000 litres of concrete).

    Each and every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2,500 Kg of it in each turbine.

    Therefore, 666,665 wind turbines would need 53.3 billion Kg of rolled steel plate for the tower plus a further 17.3 billion Kg of reinforced steel and 126.6 billion litres of concrete (equivalent to approximately 50,665 Olympic pools) to make the reinforced concrete base.

    Each turbine blade is made of glass fibre reinforced plastics, (GRP), i.e. glass fibre reinforced polyester or epoxy and on average each turbine blade weighs around 7,000 Kg each. Given each wind turbine has three blades then 13.99 billion Kg of GRP is needed.

    1.6 billion Kg of the rare earth mineral (does enough of this stuff exist?) neodymium would also be needed. Check out this article explaining how neodymium is manufactured : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/mos...er-experiment-Pollution-disastrous-scale.html

    To create a 1,000 Kg of pig iron, you start with 1,800 Kg of iron ore, 900 Kg of coking coal 450 Kg of limestone. The blast furnace consumes 4,500 Kg of air. The temperature at the core of the blast furnace reaches nearly 1,600 degrees C (about 3,000 degrees F).

    The pig iron is then transferred to the basic oxygen furnace to make steel. An amazing 127.1 billion Kg or 127 million tons of iron ore would be needed to be mined alone to supply the steel required to manufacture these wind turbines.

    63.5 billion Kg of coking coal and 31.77 billion Kg of limestone would also need to be mined.

    SAVING THE PLANET ?????? costing us a small fortune and killing Chinese peasants.
  2. Well.. they are expensive to install and they aren't as green as the wind power companies like to make out but... ugly?

    No... they look cool :)

    Simcity 2000 in real life!
  3.  Top
  4. Cmon vmaxer, I know you want to start the nuclear power debate thread :)
  5. these numbers mean NOTHING without comparing them to other means of power generation
  6. Attached Files:

  7. Stand back everyone - vmaxer's now arguing with himself...
  8. Beauty isn't determined by how something is made, some of the most wonderful and beautiful 18th century collectibles were made using ivory from elephant tusks.

    I'm against the killing of elephants, I'm against the ivory trade and I'm totally aware that the trade causes harm and I'd do what I can to stop it... but I can still see the beauty in some of the pieces that were created from it.

    You're saying that wind generators are causing serious pollution problems in China, I believe you (really I do) and now I'm aware I'll factor that into whatever decisions I come to regarding wind power.

    But... they DO look cool (sorry... but it's true *shrug*).
  9. Nah, he was doing that in the carbon tax thread. I don't know whether just to ignore him or give him the occasional prod for my amusement.
  10. Actually NK, Vmaxer hasn't referred to power stations there. That picture apparently is the industrial location where the wind turbine magnets are made. i thought he was arguing against himself too. lol
  11. So... we should all do as the Chinese do, and build a coal fired power station each week? Because when it gets 4 deg warmer we can all go and live in Antartica.

    Really vmaxer, what you are arguing about with that picture is the environmental controls that the Chinese government places on it's own manufacturing. If you don't like it, then why don't you make sure that everything you buy comes from Australia, or other countries that have reasonable environmental standards, such as Germany. Oh, they have a carbon tax too? Who would have thought that being responsible means taking care of your own shit.

    Personally, I try to limit my purchasing of Chinese made goods for this reason, but there are limits to what can be done. When China gets rid of it's right wing dictatorship government that Australia is only too happy to suck up to, then I will be a lot happier. (Think appeasement of Germany in late 1930's)

    Also... Free Tibet!

  12. The iron smelting part is just a stupid point to make. Power stations, sky scrapers etc etc all require steel and concrete and lots of it. Do we not build them then?

    If the argument is that Wind turbines aren't as power dense as thermal power stations, then captain obvious you get a gold star.

    The bonus with wind power is that once it's installed and making power, it's not ALSO producing GHG anywhere near the level of a power station. Wind power's dirty secret could be the envirnomental disasters China is allowing... that's a fair point.

    Just out of curiousity, where do you think power station turbine generators get their magnets from?? :-k
  13. (Shhh Rob - I know... ;))
  14. Yeah, 'cos coal, gas, oil and nuclear power stations use no concrete, steel, magnets, exotic materials or damaging manufacturing processes and are a beautiful asset to any landscape in which they are placed.
  15. Everything comes at a cost, everything ! Wind turbines are not as ""clean"" as the fcukwits would have us believe. PLUS they are expensive per KWH or MWH of power produced assuming there is wind of course.
  16. I've got my doubts about man made climate change too, however the REASON coal fired power is so cheap is because whilst they have to pay for coal ash dumping and land raping and have similar construction costs to all other construction and power industry, at the moment, they pay little to NOTHING for their atmospheric pollution. If those costs were rolled in then it might better reflect the true cost of coal fired power and you'd find its costs would be more on par with wind power.

    Frankly, I suspect Nuclear is the answer, but not in it's present guise, Thorium reactors are the go. *opens the door to a nuclear debate*
  17. Having recently spent some time in Europe, I must say the proliferation of wind turbines has certainly caused a lot of visual pollution. It really is a blight on the landscape.

    The big issue is how do you create steady and reliable base load power. I don't think wind or solar is the answer.

    If we are serious about creating a low-carbon future we really need to get the nuclear debate started in this country.
  18. No thanks Ultram, for sure Nuclear is the lowest cost power available UNTIL you have to get rid of the radioactive waste. Then the true cost becomes very expensive. I am with cheap clean coal and modern power stations. Enough coal in Australia to last us thousands of years producing cheap base load power 24/7 all year around.
  19. Of course coal fired power stations use concrete & steel but take up a much smaller geographic footprint for the equivelent amount of power output.

    Also coal fired power stations generate electricity so long as you keep feeding in coal where wind farms don't work on days with little or no wind.

    Just because the blades are spinning doesn't mean there's wind, they keep them moving on calm days and that use electricity to do that.
  20. Look up thorium reactor. You may be pleasantly surprised.