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Using Wind Power to Remediate Groundwater

Andrew Curtis Elmore
University of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO

The use of renewable energy sources to power environmental remediation systems is appealing in terms of risk reduction related to fossil fuel power plant emissions and in terms of sustainability. Recent work has shown that a readily available wind turbine system may be both technically and economically feasible while work at other facilities has shown that innovative systems bear promise. Wind turbine work at a Nebraska Superfund site has resulted in the following findings: 1. While guidance is available for estimating O&M costs including energy consumption during project design, that estimation procedure may not accurately reflect actual energy consumption; 2. Energy costs may be modeled as a random variable; 3. A remedial system which is designed to operate "continuously" may operate between 75 and 100 percent of the time on a monthly basis; 4. The capital required to install a small wind turbine system could be recovered in 20 years if the estimated utility power costs are $250/month. Lessons learned on the project include: 1. The power consumption of the utility power-supplied system is insensitive to the quantity of groundwater treated or the mass of contaminant removed; 2. Power metering is challenging; 3. Wind turbine vendor's power production models may have poor reliability; 4. Use of motor power ratings to predict energy costs is unreliable.