Blog: How Engineers Can Lead The Way On Renewable Energy

Blog: How Engineers Can Lead The Way On Renewable Energy

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Engineers are all too aware about the importance of delivering projects as sustainably as possible; whether this is reducing wastage on site, using recycled materials or working closely with clients to ensure new products are as energy efficient as possible. Nowhere is this perhaps more keenly felt than in the renewable energy industry, where construction processes – and the companies themselves – are in the spotlight.

Switching to eco-friendly processes can feel like a challenge, but it’s often easier than you think and can help to reduce business costs in the process. At BGB, we recycle everything we can and encourage customers to use our refurbishing services to cut waste where possible.

We started our ‘green’ journey by moving to injection moulded parts and precision machining to reduce the amount of raw materials needed for production. We then looked at how we could reuse any materials left over, such as excess phosphor bronze from smelting turbine brushes.

Last year, we recycled 46 tonnes of phosphor bronze by smelting down any leftover into raw materials, while also creating a process that allows us to reuse coolants by separating them from the swarf. If you can’t find a way to recycle the waste raw materials internally, look for a company that can re-use or recycle it, like Biffa or Wastecycle.

It’s also worth looking at the equipment you use in your production facility. Outdated and poor-quality machinery can consume up to 70 percent more energy than it needs to, so always look at the efficiency of the tools you are using and try to upgrade where possible. Instead of replacing broken or worn out components, find out if they can be fixed and reused. We have been producing slip rings for wind turbines since 1995, and regularly receive old units (some that have already been refurbished once already) that we clean, repair and send back good as new, reducing the general waste that would be produced if they were simply discarded.

Companies can take great strides forwards by making simple adjustments to their work environment. During the heat wave this summer for example, our engineers needed to drink plenty of water while working with machinery – so we took this an opportunity to reduce waste by supplying everyone with fully reusable, and recyclable, plastic cups. We also encouraged staff to share their waste reduction ideas - even the smallest changes can have a big impact.

As engineers and manufacturers, we all have a responsibility for the environment, especially companies in the wind energy sector - our innovations are designed to provide eco-friendly solutions, so our processes should reflect ethos.

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