Solar Powered Precious Plastic Container

Hi All,
There were a lot of questions if it’s possible have a solar power precious plastic container. So I made a quick example:

The roof area of a 40ft container is 2.44*12.12m = 29.5 m^2
You can place roughly 14x solar panels of 275Wp each
With a Growatt string inverter you can get on average 330kWh per month in the Netherlands. (check this website to see the difference between the Netherlands and your place)
using the compression machine for 1 hour = 3kWh
using the injection machine for 1 hour = 1kWh
using the extrusion machine for 1 hour = 1.5kWh
using the shredder machine for 1 hour = 3kWh
So is you use all machines + peripherals you consume around 9 kw per hour, resulting in a usetime of around 35 hour per month (or 1 hour per day)

using a sheetpress machine for 1 hour = 10kWh, it takes 2 hours to fully melt the plastic so that would result in the capability of 18 sheets per month.

A solar system like this in the Netherlands would cost around 4000 euro excluding tax. If you want it fully off grid, storing all this energy in an efficient way would also cost around 4000 euro
(Graphs are from a setup in the Netherlands with these 14 solar panels angled at the sun)
Thanks Sam for the info!

Precious plastic machines use a shitload of energy, use this energy wisely


nice, thanks for sharing! way to go as i see again. there are also new systems out there, utilizing parabola mirrors pointing to an energy harvester, basically the same as some do heat water. no idea this can be changed to heat plastic but seems doable. btw. in the mountains you can harvest loads of energy from water wheels near larger rivers or just water falls (traditional milling). i will have some feedback on this summer 🙂

Solar is definitely the way forward, using muscle-power would be a great addition – but why enslave donkeys or horses when you can charge people for a gym membership?

Precious plastic machines use a shitload of energy

haha, I just thought exactly the same ;). I was thinking about an off-grid mobile Shredder & Extruder machine where shredder and extruder are turned manually and only the heat is provided by electricity. Even just that is 600W for the heat bands + whatever the inverter and PID controller consumes. Not so mobile anymore if you want to run that on solar :). I guess that’s why I have not seen such a station around, yet (or maybe just did not find it, yet).

so I checked with an expert in solar, here the numbers for spain:
around noon : one array, 11 panels, standard size 1m x 1.65, with a bridge rectifier (20Euro) can be connected to the inverter directly, supplying 380V, 3Kw for around 4 hours, total costs 1130 Euro. if you want to provide normal AC – 220 V you need an extra device : 1 Kw = 400 Euro, 4 Kw = 780 Euro.

That’s also interesting for machine builders because plasma cutter, lathe or CNC is pretty much in the same ball park.

so the 4000 Euro to run the v3 machines makes sense, i am just not quite sure it includes batteries (probably not)

i am wondering now :
1. are there heatbands which can take 380 V & 3 phase ?
2. if one array of panels makes 3Kw and run in serial, then you can split the array in 3 partitions, 1 Kw each, right ?
3. so in total you need one array of 11 panels to run extrusion and shredder with one motor (or 2), and another array for the heatbands, assuming you can run heatbands via 3phase then it just 2260 Euro, if not = 2260 + 800 euro

not too bad

btw. you can always use the shredder motor to run the extrusion, needs a different screw (as so often) but you save lots of energy and invest. 4Kw works just perfect because it runs more efficient, it draws around 6-8 Amps when both modules are engaged: shredder, extrusion. with some fiddling you can also power a shredder plunger and an injector, semi-automatic.

makes me wonder to build a mill (5m dia wheel) for 2-3 donkeys or horses 🙂