Tag Archives: FRP Handrails

Chemical Storage Facility Benefits from FRP

For decades, FRP tanks have been used as the material of choice for the containment of chemicals, whether that be storage in the form of tanks or transmission in the form of pipes, that are used in the water treatment and waste water treatment industries.

The ability to tailor a specific resin blend to suit different chemicals and the cost effective manufacturing process mean that it is hard to go past FRP as the most appropriate option. Why then would you design the infrastructure in these areas from materials that don’t have the same level of corrosion resistance.

The advances in manufacturing processes have now meant that “structural composites” are becoming more common place in highly corrosive environments.

FRP Chemical Storage Facility
FRP Chemical Storage Facility

For more information, please contact FRP Engineering.

Lightweight FRP Platforms The Main Difference

FRP Engineering was contacted by a client with what appeared to be a pretty straight forward job on first look. A platform, walkway and stairs were required to replace a rotted timber structure and to provide access down a step bank to a river below. It had to be designed to met the relevant Australian standards (AS1657-2013 & AS 1170).

Where the job became a little more involved was the location. It was in the middle of nowhere and access was limited to “whatever you can carry in by hand”. For years, the job was put on hold while a suitable solution could be found by which time the existing timber platform was well past its used by date.

Steel was considered but proven to be far to heavy to carry down the steep bank and over the dam wall. Aluminium was then looked at however the cost of fabrication meant the client had to keep looking.

After much deliberation, FRP Engineering provided a solution that ticked all the boxes.

The lightweight nature of the FRP structural elements coupled with the design meant that components were easily carried to the site and assembled without the use of any specialised lifting equipment.

Lightweight FRP Platforms
Lightweight FRP Platforms

For more information, please contact FRP Engineering.

Perhaps we’re getting closer to fiberglass recycling

Article courtesy of www.compositesworld.com

Earlier this year I wrote an article on composites recycling (here’s the link: https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/composites-recycling-gaining-traction ) and one of the things that struck me was how little fiberglass composite waste was being recycled. OK, I know you’re thinking, carbon is worth recycling and glass is not, because carbon has more value. But we’re coming to a point where composite parts, carbon and glass, have been deployed for several decades, and perhaps are nearing the end of their service lives — do we just throw these parts away? For example, how do you throw away a wind blade that’s 50m long? The disposal of spent blades is a growing problem that tends to be ignored by renewable energy advocates.

General Electric (Boston, MA, US) recently posted an article entitled “Comeback Kids: This Company Gives Old Wind Turbine Blades A Second Life” written by Amy Kover, on its GE Reports web site, a daily news, video and social media hub featuring timely, insightful articles. According to the article, repowering — or replacing existing technology with more advanced tech, such as newer blades — can increase an entire wind farm’s performance by up to 25 percent and extend its life by up to 20 years. But, says Kover, repowering also creates a new twist on the ages-old conundrum trailing progress: what to do with the obsolete technology. Crushing a blade yields about 15,000 pounds of fiberglass waste, and the process creates hazardous dust. Given their enormous length, sending them to a landfill whole is out of the question.

Fiber Glass recycling
This photo is taken from a YouTube video posted by Matpro Machinery (Glasgow, Scotland) showing how their equipment is used to recycle old wind turbine blades.

The article goes on to describe the efforts of Ronald Albrecht and Don Lilly of Global Fiberglass Solutions Inc. (Bothell, WA, US). Their Seattle-area-based company, which has been recycling fiberglass since 2008, has invented a way to transform the old blades into products like manhole covers, building panels and pallets. The process begins at the wind farm itself, where technicians from GFSI cut dismantle blades into more manageable 37-meter chunks. To minimize — if not eliminate — hazardous dust, GFSI uses wet wire blades that are thin and strong enough to slice each wind blade open as cleanly as a cantaloupe. Then the company sprays a light mist of water so that debris rains into a giant dustpan lying beneath the blade.

Next, GFSI loads the dismantled blades onto trucks and hauls them to nearby yards where the blades are shredded into raw fiberglass material. A single blade yields about 15-20 bags of this waste, weighing between 700 and 1,000 pounds each. GFSI will reuse 100 percent of each blade. Even the bolts that circle the blade’s end section go to a metal salvage site for recycling.

According to GFSI, it has developed a patented and proprietary process for recycling fiberglass, grinding it into recyclable feedstock that is mixed with other compounds to form a moldable material, that it has trademarked Ecopolycrete, and making new products, like manhole covers, which are made of the reclaimed fiberglass mixed with rock and filler, says Kover’s article. Here’s a link to the GFSI web site: https://www.global-fiberglass.com/.

GE, which has been working with GFSI, can then buy back its old wind blades as new products. GFSI has recycled a total 564 blades for GE in less than a year, and based on current plans, GFSI estimates that GE could reuse 50 million pounds of fiberglass waste in the next couple of years.

This is just one of several ongoing projects related to recycling of fiberglass waste, primarily from wind blades, and it’s a topic that I’ll continue to keep tabs on. If you know of a glass recycling project, please let me know.

Chemicals Storage Facility Access Infrastructure

Given the highly corrosive nature of the chemicals, designers of a new purpose built chemical storage facility located in Perths’ south had to consider the long term maintenance requirements of the access infrastructure. Over the years, the cost to maintain corroding materials can be more costly than the initial capital costs. It turned out to be an easy decision, enter FRP.

When considering all the attributes of FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) materials such as:

  • Light weight
  • High Strength to Weight Ratio
  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Low Installation Cost

FRP came out significantly ahead of traditional materials.

FRP Chemical Storage Facility

FRP infrastructure included:

  • Approximately 120 metres of Tank top access walkways
  • Pipe Crossover stairs
  • Bund Access Stairs
  • Equipment Access Platforms

FRP Broadwalk urban infrastructure

The added benefit of using FRP materials are

  • The initial capital costs were far less than their metallic alternatives.
  • FRP materials are significantly lighter than metallic materials meaning that walkways could be designed without the use of many columns which made the installation much cheaper and quicker.
  • The concrete membrane required far less penetrations for the columns which meant significant savings in repair coating of chemical anchors.

For more information relating to these, or other FRP materials, please feel free to contact FRP Engineering.