Energy Payback Time of a Solar Photovoltaic Powered Waste Plastic Recyclebot System

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Source[edit | edit source]


Abstract[edit | edit source]

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The growth of both plastic consumption and prosumer 3-D printing are driving an interest in producing 3-D printer filaments from waste plastic. This study quantifies the embodied energy of a vertical DC solar photovoltaic (PV) powered recyclebot based on life cycle energy analysis and compares it to horizontal AC recyclebots, conventional recycling, and the production of a virgin 3-D printer filament. The energy payback time (EPBT) is calculated using the embodied energy of the materials making up the recyclebot itself and is found to be about five days for the extrusion of a poly lactic acid (PLA) filament or 2.5 days for the extrusion of an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament. A mono-crystalline silicon solar PV system is about 2.6 years alone. However, this can be reduced by over 96% if the solar PV system powers the recyclebot to produce a PLA filament from waste plastic (EPBT is only 0.10 year or about a month). Likewise, if an ABS filament is produced from a recyclebot powered by the solar PV system, the energy saved is 90.6–99.9 MJ/kg and 26.33–29.43 kg of the ABS filament needs to be produced in about half a month for the system to pay for itself. The results clearly show that the solar PV system powered recyclebot is already an excellent way to save energy for sustainable development.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

energy payback time; distributed manufacturing; life cycle analysis; photovoltaic; recycling; solar energy; recyclebot; 3-D printing; polymer filament; EPBT

See Also[edit source]

RepRapable Recyclebot and the Wild West of Recycling

Recycling Technology[edit source]

Distributed Recycling LCA[edit source]

Literature Reviews[edit source]

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Externals[edit source]


  • Cruz, F., Lanza, S., Boudaoud, H., Hoppe, S., & Camargo, M. Polymer Recycling and Additive Manufacturing in an Open Source context: Optimization of processes and methods. [2]
  • Investigating Material Degradation through the Recycling of PLA in Additively Manufactured Parts [3]
  • Mohammed, M.I., Das, A., Gomez-Kervin, E., Wilson, D. and Gibson, I., EcoPrinting: Investigating the use of 100% recycled Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) for Additive Manufacturing. [4]
  • Kariz, M., Sernek, M., Obućina, M. and Kuzman, M.K., 2017. Effect of wood content in FDM filament on properties of 3D printed parts. Materials Today Communications. [5]
  • Kaynak, B., Spoerk, M., Shirole, A., Ziegler, W. and Sapkota, J., 2018. Polypropylene/Cellulose Composites for Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, p.1800037. [6]
  • O. Martikka et al., "Mechanical Properties of 3D-Printed Wood-Plastic Composites", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 777, pp. 499-507, 2018 [7]
  • Yang, T.C., 2018. Effect of Extrusion Temperature on the Physico-Mechanical Properties of Unidirectional Wood Fiber-Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composite (WFRPC) Components Using Fused Deposition Modeling. Polymers, 10(9), p.976. [8]

News[edit source]

  1. Michigan Tech researchers invent open-source grinding machine for compression screw 3D printing 3D Printing Industry 72k SVMakers
  2. Open-Source Grinder Makes Compression Screws For Plastic Extruders Easy Hackaday 9.8k, Tech Street Now
  3. Open Source Grinding Machine Cuts Cost of Pellet 3D Printing 3D Print 75.7k, 3D Printing Today
  4. Latest News of 3D Printing Morgen Filament
  5. Grinding Machine from Professor Pearce Medium 79

In the News[edit | edit source]