Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials

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The challenge is to draw on the talent and technology roadmaps in the DOE National Labs and elsewhere to speed up the cycles of learning. About received seed money and access to labs and to energy incubators to test their ideas and qualify for additional funding. From ideation to selection spanned 90 days compared to the conventional year-long contracts.

Speeding up and trying new models for innovation and bringing innovation to commercialization are two of the most critical things to consider as part of our overarching look at how to develop sustainable models, Gay concluded. He also urged tapping into new capital, including philanthropic capital. Yongxin Huang , lead structure engineer for Siemens Gamesa, defined sustainable wind energy not only in terms of materials, but also in keeping factories open and people employed.

That means driving down costs.


The reality, he said, is people express support for the concept of wind energy; however, they are unwilling to pay higher utility costs or live near wind turbines. There is a need to deliver a smart solution to solve those problems, he commented. He urged assembling grids with other renewable energy technologies, rather than competing against each other. The three blades of a turbine under development, known as the SWT 8. A blade weighs 25 tons the equivalent of 16 mid-sized cars ; and a rotor swept area is equivalent to 4. One issue is the time-consuming manual blade construction in which glass fabric is applied to a mold at a rate of 2, pounds of glass every hour, yielding one blade per day.

Increasing the size of a rotor is directly proportional to power generation, he explained, but the square-cube law challenges this aim: that is, for a rotor to double in power, it has to triple in volume. How can rotor size increase without becoming too heavy e. Technology advancement attempts to defy the square-cube law through better aerodynamics for example, curved rather than straight blades , higher-quality manufacturing processes, and stronger glass-carbon hybrid materials.

Blades are in development with stiffer and lighter fibers, fatigue-resistant and low-viscosity resins, lighter core materials, and thicker laminates. Huang pointed to the issue of recycling as wind turbines move out of service over time. What to do with these materials relates not only to wind, but also to other alternative energy technologies.

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In the case of wind, from to , the equivalent of GW of wind energy was installed, or about , blades using 2 million tons of composite materials. What will we do with the materials once they are done providing sustainable energy? Innovative alternative uses to these massive blade are needed, Huang concluded. According to Jay Whitacre , professor of materials science and engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, energy storage technology is not as fleshed out as solar and wind, although it has existed in some form for more than years.

Lithium-ion batteries, the current dominant form, have been used for about 30 years. Whitacre focused on the creation of electrochemical energy storage other types include pumped hydro, thermal, and ice storage , which must have two separate, coexisting systems. This is a very materials-intensive technology. Unlike wind and solar, which have a few dominant technologies, many energy storage technologies continue to vie for market share. It is not clear which type will dominate economically, making decisions difficult. A variety of needs are required: to understand how long a battery will last, how many duty cycles it can accommodate, and the value placed in any given application.

The lack of a good baseline confounds the industry because there is no good way to evaluate options. Two main types of lithium-ion batteries are now produced, with cylindrical and prismatic cell formats. Both require a spectrum of major industrial chemicals, precious metals, and rare earth elements, and there is no dominant single material with the aim of cost optimization.

Whitacre added that cobalt has had a dramatic increase in price and decrease in availability in the past year while the most scaled energy storage materials systems are not materials optimized. The complexity of the manufacturing process, which consists of 16 separate steps, also makes it hard to find ways to use less energy or materials. A study by a group from Stanford University compared ratios of total electrical energy stored over the life of a storage technology, Whitacre said.

Lithium-ion batteries were far less energy-efficient; lead-acid batteries, the most commonly used energy storage system today, fared even worse. Yet more robust batteries typically cost more, and some end uses do not call for the more expensive options, even if they are more efficient. Recycling energy storage batteries is difficult because the different materials are closely wound together, making separation complicated. Whereas some valuable minerals could be recovered such as cobalt and nickel , there are not enough units to justify the disassembly and re-segregation needed.

To illustrate the complexity, Carnegie Mellon launched a company called Aquion Energy in to create a sustainable product.

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On the importance of reducing the energetic and material demands of electrical energy storge. The above presentations on trends in solar, wind, and energy storage technologies set the stage for consideration of supply-side needs related to their material components, and the human dimensions associated with the supply chain. According to USGS figures, the United States relies on imported materials for more than 70 percent of these components. Global events affect the supply chain—as one example, the Ebola crisis in West Africa impacted the mining of key elements.

Nedal Nassar , chief of the Materials Flow Section at the USGS National Minerals Information Center, described the minor metals required to increase production of wind and solar power, including silver, cadmium, tellurium, indium, gallium, selenium, and germanium. Many are produced as by-products of other commodities and needed only in small quantities but are nevertheless essential. On the solar side, different technologies require different minor metals. Globally, crystalline silicon has been the predominant solar PV technology. Until recently, cadmium telluride was gaining market share in the United States.

Nassar noted that it is uncertain which technology will dominate in the future, and it will have implications for which by-product metals will be needed. Likewise, different wind turbines, and whether the turbines are on- or off-shore, also will result in different minor metal requirements. Minor metal requirements depend on three key uncertainties that will produce a range of possible futures:. Nassar and colleagues developed 42 scenarios based on various estimates of these three uncertainties.

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Highlighting results for tellurium, indium, silver, gallium, and germanium, considerations included potential future demand, competing demands for other uses, and whether the mineral has single or multiple sources. In most cases, production of the host metal and by-product for example, selenium as a by-product of copper are in parallel, but he pointed to two by-products that are outstripping their host metals in terms of production: gallium from aluminium oxide and zinc and indium also from zinc.

Nassar asked: How long is this sustainable? Can we continue to increase indium production exponentially while its host metal only increases linearly?

Construction using concrete reinforced with renewable materials

Preliminary study of tellurium shows less than 2 percent is recovered from its host metal of copper. Thus, one technical solution is to recover more of the by-products from the hosts.

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Nassar stated that geological scarcity is not likely to be the limiting factor in rare earth element availability. In the discussion period, technological process scarcity was suggested by several participants as an additional consideration to geologic and economic scarcities. A participant noted that more than half of the known rare earth resources are in deposits for which there are no known or proven extraction techniques, and much metallurgical research is needed before commercial production is possible.

Elisa Alonso , a critical materials analyst for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, focused on rare earth elements, a subset of the critical materials discussed by Nassar. She positioned all critical materials on axes of importance and supply risk related to market, recycling options, and environmental concerns. Many risk factors associated with rare earth elements underscore their criticality. They have highly concentrated supply histories in many cases, a single country dominates , are the result of by-product mining, and contain radioactive thorium.

The market is small and opaque, and their dispersed end uses limit the potential for recycling. Demand risks include limited substitutability and a growing market. Net Import Reliance. Accessed July 3, Alonso explained that rare earths are crucial to sustainability, part of intermediate products such as magnets for end uses that range from wind turbines to electric vehicle batteries Figure 2.

Critical Materials for Green Energy Technologies

In , global rare earth prices spiked as a result of export limitations from China. Although the prices have decreased, they are still higher than pre values and the spike illustrates the vulnerability of a predictable supply. As a case study, Alonso shared her post-doctoral work with the Ford Motor Company to identify where rare earth elements are used in a typical car. The researchers identified more than parts in the car that require some rare earth element, showing the extent to which all technologies rely on, and potentially compete for, these materials.

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Federal Demonstration Partnership. Policy Office Website. Program Reference Code s :. Cement, steel, river sand and the crushed granite are most widely used building materials. Of these materials, cement and steel place huge energy demand for their production. Besides, their production generates considerable CO2 emissions.

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Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials
Composites from Renewable and Sustainable Materials

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