A circular economy approach to green energy: Wind turbine, waste, and material recovery

Siqi Hao, Adrian T.H. Kuah, Christopher D. Rudd, Kok Hoong Wong, Nai Yeen Gavin Lai, Jianan Mao, Xiaoling Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wind energy has been considered as one of the greenest renewable energy sources over the last two decades. However, attention is turning to reducing the possible environmental impacts from this sector. We argue that wind energy would not be effectively “green” if anthropogenic materials are not given attention in a responsible manner. Using the concept of the circular economy, this paper considers how anthropogenic materials in the form of carbon fibers can reenter the circular economy system at the highest possible quality. This paper first investigates the viability of a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer extraction process using thermal pyrolysis to recalibrate the maximum carbon fiber value by examining the effect of (a) heating rate, (b) temperature, and (c) inert gas flow rate on char yield. With cleaner and higher quality recovered carbon fibers, this paper discusses the economic preconditions for the takeoff and growth of the industry and recommends the reuse of extracted carbon fibers to close the circular economy loop.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135054
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume702
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Carbon fiber
  • Circular economy
  • Pyrolysis
  • Recovery
  • Recycling
  • Wind turbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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