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December 2, 2009. Solar panel costs 'set to fall'. Ch. 16 (wastes).

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December 2 2009
December 2, 2009

Solar panel costs 'set to fall'

  • Ch. 16 (wastes)

The cost of installing and owning solar panels will fall even faster than expected according to new research. Tests show that 90% of existing solar panels last for 30 years, instead of the predicted 20 years. According to the independent EU Energy Institute, this brings down the lifetime cost.

The institute says the panels are such a good long-term investment that banks should offer mortgages on them like they do on homes. At a conference, the institute forecast that solar panels would be cost-competitive with energy from the grid for half the homes in Europe by 2020 - without a subsidy.


Why decreased landfills
Why decreased landfills?

  • Materials management

    • Incentives for ‘green buildings’

    • New technology incentives

      • Waste exchange programs

        • Fresh Kills, NY

  • Recycling

    • Reduce, recycle, reuse (3 R’s)

    • Yard materials banned from landfills

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/index.htm



Recycling rates of selected products, 2008

http://www.epa.gov/waste/conserve/index.htm


Hazardous wastes
Hazardous Wastes

  • Types of hazardous wastes

    • Plastics, pesticides

    • Medicines

    • Leather, textiles

    • Oil, gas, petroleum

      • ~40% used oil put in

        drains or ground

http://epa.gov/indicators/roe/html/roeLandWa2.ht


http://maps.grida.no/go/collection/vital-waste-graphics-2

Http://www.cspo.org/gck/home/repositories/environment/waste.html


Disposal of hazardous wastes

Aerial view of Love Canal, NY

Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

  • ‘Dilute and disperse’ and ‘concentrate and contain’

    • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

      • Primary national law governing disposal (1976)

    • Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

      • Superfund (1980)

http://www.eoearth.org/article/Love_Canal,_New_York


Disposal of hazardous wastes1
Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

  • Deep well injection

    • Characteristics of site?

    • Problems?

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/uic/wells_class1.html

http://www.texasep.org/html/wst/wst_4imn_injct.html


Disposal of hazardous wastes2

Surface impoundment of creosote wastes

near the Clark Fork River, MT

Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

  • Surface impoundment

  • Secure landfill

http://people.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm?parent=landfill.htm&url=http://www.santekenviro.com/StkHome.html

http://www.deq.mt.gov/HazWaste/RCRA/rcra_fact_sheets/bnsf/RCRABNSFFactSht.asp


Disposal of hazardous wastes3

TSCA Incinerator, Oak Ridge, TN

Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

  • Incineration

http://www.bechteljacobs.com/tsca/

http://www.oakridge.doe.gov/external/PublicActivities/EmergencyPublicInformation/OakRidgeReservationFacilities/tabid/321/Default.aspx


Disposal of hazardous wastes4

In-situ Chemical Oxidation

Disposal of Hazardous Wastes

  • Alternatives

    • Source reduction

    • Recycling

      • Fertilizers

    • Microbial breakdown

      • Land treatment units

    • Chemical treatment

      • Neutralization, oxidation


What is radioactive waste
What is Radioactive Waste?

  • Materials (solid or liquid) with unstable isotopes

    • Release radiation upon decay

  • Radioactive decay

    • Emission particles

    • Half life (= rate of decay)

      • 238U (4.5 billion yrs)

      • 14C (5730 yrs)

      • 222Rn (<4 days)


Typical radiation exposure
Typical Radiation Exposure

  • 360 mrem/person/yr

    • Radon (200 mrem), Cosmic/Terrestrial (55 mrem)

    • Medical X-rays (53 mrem)

    • Internal (39 mrem)

    • Consumerables (10 mrem)

    • Other (3 mrem)

  • Levels of exposure

    • 0 – 5,000 mrem (OK)

    • 5,000 – 25,000 (cancers)

    • > 600,000 (almost always FATAL)

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


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