Wind Farms Are Sending Giant Turbine Blades To Landfills

The Associated Press reports that renewable energy companies like MidAmerican Energy face an unexpected problem when they try to replace the giant blades from their wind turbines Landfill operators thought the composite blades, cut in 40-foot or larger sections, could be readily crushed and compacted. "But blades are so strong -- because they need to be strong to do their job -- they just don't break," said Amie Davidson, an Iowa Department of Natural Resources solid waste supervisor. "Sometimes pieces fly off and damage equipment" in the compacting process, she said. "Landfills are really struggling to manage them, and they just decide they can't accept them...." Bill Rowland, president of the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations, said he's unsure "we as a society" considered what would happen to the blades as older turbines are repowered. "There wasn't a plan in place to say, 'How are we going to recycle these?' 'How are we going to reduce the impact on landfills?'" said Rowland, director of the Landfill of North Iowa near Clear Lake... When it started investing in wind, MidAmerican believed a blade recycling option would emerge. "Thus far, it hasn't," said Geoff Greenwood, a spokesman for MidAmerican, adding that the company is talking with other wind developers that may be interested in using the blades for their own projects... The difficulty in reusing blades adds to the complaints opponents make against wind energy. Some who live near the turbines complain that low-frequency noise and light flickering from the blades make them ill. And the spinning blades can kill migrating birds and bats.... Kerri Johannsen, the Iowa Environmental Council's energy program director, said more recycling solutions are needed. But, she added, it's not a reason to "turn away from wind energy -- a solution that can help mitigate the most dangerous threats from climate change...." According to the article, one U.S. Department of Energy researcher told the Des Moines Register that wind energy will create over one million tons of fiberglass and other composite waste, adding that "The scale of the issue is quite large... And it's a larger sustainability issue." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-18 03:45:06 preview's
You Can Now Buy Pretend Food for Your $2,900 Sony Robot Dog

Gizmodo reports that Sony "will happily sell you make-believe virtual meals" for their robotic Aibo dog to unlock tricks, one of several new features added since its re-launch in 2017: The new feature that will appeal to most owners, however, is Aibo Food, which allows the robot to be virtually fed using augmented reality through the Aibo smartphone app. Meals can be purchased using coins, which are awarded to users through random actions like repeatedly using the Aibo app, or during special events. But once users runs out of coins, which is bound to quickly happen as they try out the new Aibo Food feature, they can either wait for more Sony handouts or purchase additional coins for a fee. Sony points out that Aibo's performance and features aren't dependent on whether the dog is regularly fed -- it is, after all, just a robot. So hopefully the company won't change its mind down the line, making your pup act sluggish and distracted when you're not forking out for pretend food.... Of course, other complications arrive once you start feeding an animal, and the new software update also allows users to finally potty train their Aibos using a new mapping feature so the robot doesn't pretend-shit all over your house. This appears to be a free feature, until Sony realises it can sell owners virtual poop bags. There's also a new web-based API/developer program that lets you program the robot dog to perform custom actions -- and Aibo dogs now come equipped with some new patrol/security functionality. "Using its facial recognition and room-mapping capabilities, Aibo will be able to patrol homes and locate various family members, providing reports on where everyone is, and helping owners track down specific people, according to Sony." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
2019-11-17 06:45:03