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Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Analysis Comparison of Stamped Aluminum and Injection Molded Polypropylene Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Blades

[+] Author Affiliations
Senta Riley, John E. Wentz, John Angeli

University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Paper No. IMECE2011-65437, pp. 873-880; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5489-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Wind turbines have seen increasing use over the past decades as an alternative mode of energy production. One specific use of vertical axis wind turbines is for the powering of rural telecommunication towers. In this research a cradle-to-gate life cycle analysis is used to compare three different designs for a stackable, capped, Savonius-style vertical axis wind turbine blade capable of producing from one to three kilowatts. The analysis compares the energy consumed and carbon dioxide emissions from material production and manufacturing of two different aluminum blade designs and a polypropylene design each having the same energy generation capacity. Primary and secondary aluminum materials were included in the analysis. Life cycle inventories from two software programs were used and compared with values gleaned from published literature. The results of the analysis revealed that the least energy and carbon dioxide impact came from using a recycled aluminum design while the most was from manufacturing using primary aluminum.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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