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It’s easy to be green™

March 17, 2011

It’s Easy to be Green™

Q:

On your blog masthead you declare that it is easy to be green, but you provide no explanation. What’s the scoop? What are your green credentials?

A:

When power cables come to the end of their useful life, circuit owners have two alternatives: replace or rejuvenate. Novinium rejuvenation provides our customers the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact by avoiding the production of aluminum, copper, and plastics needed to manufacture power cables. Thus, critical resources do not have to be consumed and energy does not have to be expended to produce these materials. Additionally, our customers save diesel fuel normally used to install replacement cable. All of these environmental benefits are achieved with no loss in cable life extension—Novinium rejuvenation provides a 40-year life extension, the same as the life expectancy of a new cable. Over the last several years, Novinium has rejuvenated millions of feet of underground power cable.

It is possible to calculate the net positive environmental impact of rejuvenation. I refer to a 2010 paper in Environmental Science Technology (44, 5587-5593) by researchers1 at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Southern California Edison, titled, “Life Cycle Assessment of Overhead and Underground Primary Power Distribution.” The baseline life cycle impact assessment for underground cable per circuit mile per year is very high, even assuming the cable is recycled. Over 95% of cable, which is replaced instead of being rejuvenated, is not recycled, but rather abandoned in place. Hence the values in the table nearby understate the actual environmental savings afforded by the in situ recycling delivered by Novinium’s cable rejuvenation process.

ADP (abiotic depletion potential) 63.66 kg SB eq
AP (acidification potential)< 32.68 kg SO2 eq
EP (eutrophication potential) 3.73 kg PO4 eq
FAETP (freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity potential) 527.08 kg DCB eq
GWP (global warming potential) 7682.8 kg CO2 eq
HTP (human toxicity potential) 1376.29 kg DCB eq
POCP (photochemical ozone creation potential) 3.65 kg C2H4 eq
TETP (terrestrial ecotoxicity potential) 29.16 kg DCB eq

A typical 10 mile rejuvenation project extends cable life by 40 years and reduces global warming potential by at least 3,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.

1Sarah Bumby, Ekaterina Druzhinina, Rebe Feraldi, Danae Werthmann, Roland Geyer, and Jack Sahl.