EcoPrinting: investigation of solar powered plastic recycling and additive manufacturing for enhanced waste management and sustainable manufacturing
conference contributionposted on 09.07.2020, 10:46 by Mazher Mohammed, Daniel Wilson, Eli Gomez-Kervin, Lucas Rosson, Johannes Long
In this article we propose the EcoPrinting technology, which aims at a near zero carbon foot print means of recycling waste polymers into functional, working products. To achieve this goal, we demonstrate a nanogrid device by which solar energy can be stored in a modest sized battery system and use this to power instrumentation for melt extrusion of waste polymers into 3D printer filaments. We then use this filament in a modified 3D printer system to manufacture functional humanitarian aid components such as water seals and pipe connectors. We investigate the feasibility of the EcoPrinting principal using ABS and HDPE plastics, while evaluating and optimizing enabling device energy consumption and manufacturing performance. We conclude that the EcoPrinting principal is possible and functional devices can be manufactured with mechanical integrity equivalent to commercially available components. We finally demonstrate that EcoPrinting can be used as a tool for humanitarian use, realizing a manufacturing paradigm that is self-sufficient and potentially capable of addressing challenges of plastic proliferation in developing nations.
Deakin University School of Engineering and Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, alongside Plan International.
English Foundation and members of the general public, who provided much needed financial support to the project following crowd funding efforts on the Start Some Good 3DWASH campaign.