Cutting down windmill blades

ksss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rigby, Idaho
I am bidding a project to cut and haul off two windmill blades. The blades are 130' long, and made of 4" fiberglass. It is hollow until the end of the blades. They weigh 10,200 pounds per blade. Trying to come up with a way of cutting these down. The landfill wants them in 16' sections, so there are a lot of cuts. I am not excited about putting a guy on a demo saw trying to cut these. He would need a breathing protection and it would dangerous. I have a high flow asphalt cutter that might work. Shears would work but I don't have one and it would be slow. I saw some vidoes of tree shears that rotate up and down that might work. Anyone done this before and have some ideas?
 

iand

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
melbourne au
I don't have any idea of price but with those figures I get a minimum of 8 cuts to get 16' lengths which gives an average weight per length of 1275 pounds so you will need something to lift them into a trailer/truck for transportation not to mention transporting from cutting site to trailer/truck
Also are you sure they are fibreglass and not Carbon fibre
 

RM Landscapes

LawnSite Member
I live in Iowa, one of the largest producers of wind energy. With that, there is a lot of maintenance, including blade change outs every few years. Believe it or not those blades are cut with a regular chainsaw with a rescue blade, like the fire department uses. No idea on how many cuts can be made with each chain before needing replaced/sharpened. It makes a very unique sound while cutting.
 

m_ice

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
IL
I live in Iowa, one of the largest producers of wind energy. With that, there is a lot of maintenance, including blade change outs every few years. Believe it or not those blades are cut with a regular chainsaw with a rescue blade, like the fire department uses. No idea on how many cuts can be made with each chain before needing replaced/sharpened. It makes a very unique sound while cutting.
I was going to suggest a rescue saw...just work it into the price and then you own it. You never know when you're going to have to cut a hole in someone's house???
 

fireball756

LawnSite Senior Member
They seem to use a crane to take the blades down and transport them offsite. Have no idea what they do to dispose of them
 
OP
ksss

ksss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rigby, Idaho
It doesn't seem many people do know how to dispose of them. I am trying to do this mechanically. A chain saw isn't appealing, but it might be the only way. Cat only puts a shear on a 345 (rental) so you can imagine what that costs.
 

RM Landscapes

LawnSite Member
From what I have observed here, they cut the blades into 30' ish sections. Those are then hauled to the landfill on a step deck flatbed with log bunks. They have special arrangements made prior to arrival for unloading and burial, usually kinda "off" hours so it doesn't interfere with other people trying to dump. Basically they kinda lay the big pieces on the bottom and cover with the days trash. If you want to go the shear route, check with your local scrap/salvage companies. Many of the larger ones around here have machines available for hire to "assist" with demo and cleanup jobs. Much cheaper than trying to rent something for such a small project. Either way it really shouldn't be a big deal.
 

fireball756

LawnSite Senior Member
Seems like there was article in the Casper, WYOMING newspaper this week about it. Their landfill and one in CALIFORNIA are the only two approved for carbon fiber blades by the EPA. Seems like it’s a big problem everywhere in the world. I would probably walk away for liability reasons. Imagine if they have to dig those blades up again with 30 ft of construction demo on top of them to dispose of them properly. Or a guard at the site sues you you didn’t use dust mitigation procedures when you cut them up You don’t have to worry about your own employees cause they are suing Monsanto over Roundup
 
OP
ksss

ksss

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Rigby, Idaho
My biggest concern is planning on a certain way of cutting them down and it not working and I spend way too much time on it. The landfill will take them, although grudgingly and at a price. Once they take them, they own them, so I am not worried about them coming back at me after they are dumped on their landfill according to their rules. There is plenty of work, and I am not looking for something to do, but if I could find a slick way of cutting them down, it could be a good niche gig, there will be many more where this came from in the years coming. It may not be a big deal, problem is, I don't know, what I don't know and that is always scary.
 

Andrew H

LawnSite Gold Member
Windmill blades are usually pretty high up, no? Do you use a crane or do you repel from the top?
 

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