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Topic Title: How to reduce environmental impact of our cables
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Created On: 15 January 2014 01:18 PM
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 15 January 2014 01:18 PM
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Gpack

Posts: 2
Joined: 15 January 2014

Hello,
Does anyone have any thoughts about how we could reduce the embodied energy that goes into cable installed in our homes?
Is there a more efficient way to do it?
Is there an alternative material to PVC and LS0H cable used to insulate and sheath the conductors?
Does anyone have any embodied energy figures for these cable that might allow me to compare the environmental cost?
Thank you for any help with this subject.
 16 January 2014 01:33 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19531
Joined: 23 March 2004

Perhaps the way you want to look at it is from the point of view of recovering the embodied energy at end of life.

Copper (or aluminium) is 100% recyclable

PVC is about 99% recyclable

XLPE can be recovered at a rate of about 60% for re use as insulation

The remain 40% of XLPE can be used in other compounds or the embodied energy recovered by use as a fuel

The other thing you could look at is lifetime of the cable - longer life diluting the up front energy and environmental costs - so things like cables and installation designs which are:
(1) less prone to failure in use, and
(2) less prone to performance degradation over time

will effectively be more sustainable

In my experience, how you size cables and what environment you run them in has by far the biggest impact - so the I2R losses and minimisation of same based on increasing conductor size and any derating required for temperature, grouping etc which increases cable size beyond required ampacity - there is a balance to be struck between the two.

Regards

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 16 January 2014 03:42 PM
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Gpack

Posts: 2
Joined: 15 January 2014

Thank you for your feed back. I think you make some excellent points.
I'm not sure about 99% of PVC insulation and sheathing being recyclable.
Have you heard of any alternatives to PVC as insulation?
 16 January 2014 04:05 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19531
Joined: 23 March 2004

PVC cable waste is effectively totally recyclable into other forms or into waste streams that have other uses. Look at such things as Vynaloop at Ferrara in Italy as one example

The obvious insulation alternative is XLPE - most cables don't use PVC as insulation these days.

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 23 January 2014 08:36 AM
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gkenyon

Posts: 4478
Joined: 06 May 2002

But if you are looking at "new build", the environmental cost of initially manufacturing PVC is huge. Because of the supply chain issues with PVC, and the risk of increased damage or personal injury from corrosive combustion products of PVC in a fire, certain businesses don't permit it in the fixed wiring in their properties.

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
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