Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bulb Eater Crushes Mercury Concerns

Date:
October 31, 2006
Source:
University Of Calgary
Summary:
It looks like a robot from a science fiction movie but it only exterminates fluorescent light bulbs. The new bulb eater at the University of Calgary, an alien-looking lamp crushing system, will keep mercury out of landfills and reduce the overall volume of waste. The machine is one of only a few in Calgary and will crush over 180,000 fluorescent bulbs over the next three years as the university retrofits its light fixtures with more energy-efficient lamps.

Rajpal Dhillon (left) and John Piket, both from Campus Infrastructure, slide used fluorescent lighting tubes into the bulb eater.
Credit: Photo by Ken Bendiktsen

It looks like a robot from a science fiction movie but it only exterminates fluorescent light bulbs. The new bulb eater at the University of Calgary, an alien-looking lamp crushing system, will keep mercury out of landfills and reduce the overall volume of waste. The machine is one of only a few in Calgary and will crush over 180,000 fluorescent bulbs over the next three years as the university retrofits its light fixtures with more energy-efficient lamps.

Working with partner Direct Energy, the university has committed to reducing energy consumption on campus by $30 million over the seven-year partnership. Refitting light fixtures is only one initiative to achieve that goal, but it brought up its own question: What to do with all the old bulbs?

"We're in the business of sustainable energy solutions," says Peter Dixon, vice-president of Direct Energy Business Services. "The bulb eater is a natural fit. We're reducing waste and keeping toxins out of landfills, not just for this project, but for the foreseeable future.

"The bulb eater will crush spent fluorescent tubes, filter out the mercury and store the glass shards for disposal. The captured mercury will be sent for disposal to a designated hazardous waste facility. Until recently, old fluorescent tubes were going into the garbage and ending up in landfills. Mercury liquid and vapour could enter the ecosystem from broken bulbs, and eventually find its way into our water or food. With .15mg of mercury in each fluorescent tube, that's a lot of toxic waste.

"We're finding more and more ways to reduce our negative impact on the environment," says Steve Dantzer, associate vice-president of Campus Infrastructure. "This equipment is an investment that has immediate pay-off, not only financially, but also environmentally.

"The U of C and Direct Energy are retrofitting approximately 90,000 fluorescent light fixtures containing over 180,000 fluorescent tubes around campus as part of Project Evolve. The retrofit will save over 16,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and over 3,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the equivalent of removing 780 cars from the road or planting 853,000 trees over 1,960 acres of land.

After the retrofit is complete, about 10,000 tubes per year will be crushed in the new machine. The bulb eater can reduce glass volume from 1200 fluorescent lamps into a single 40 gallon barrel for disposal. The university is currently seeking a partner for recycling the milky-coloured glass, which can't be mixed with regular clear glass.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Calgary. "Bulb Eater Crushes Mercury Concerns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061026101406.htm>.
University Of Calgary. (2006, October 31). Bulb Eater Crushes Mercury Concerns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061026101406.htm
University Of Calgary. "Bulb Eater Crushes Mercury Concerns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061026101406.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins