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missholly

Solar Powered Kiln?

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I cannot even fathom the amount of panels you would need or how to channel that much power.  I would say no, but perhaps someone else has some insight.  I have run a small cabin off solar panels and a pretty nice system and it barely would power everything I had.

 

I think it is best to fire with wood or gas in an "off the grid" situation.

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Solar power doesn't have the juice to produce any kind of heat.

 

A sustainable solution would be maybe to source old fryer oil from restaurants.  Don't expect it to be free, since most restaurants sell their waste oil, but it's a cheap, safe, very high energy fuel source.  Building waste oil burners is also pretty easy and fun if you've got a little welding skill.  This coming from the world's worst welder. :)

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Solar can barely run a couple of fluorescent light bulbs. Not dissing it, I'm a bit of a tree hugger myself. I use three large compost bins.

I did look into waste vegetable burners-there are a BUNCH on youtube. The Babbington burner looks do able. You still have to power an electric blower unless you use a drip system. Type in WVO burners and that will get you there. There was a guy in Bermuda who fired on wvo. I don't know if he's still around.

Tom.

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I  met a guy a few years ago who claimed he could run his kiln from the power generated by his solar panels. But he had a huge number of panels, like an acre or more of his land covered with them. It's just not practical at this point. Your best bet is to stay on the grid, and have enough solar and wind power to have a negative usage for everything else in your home and studio, which will offset the cost of running the kiln when you sell the excess power back  to the electric company.

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The panels themselves likely wont put out enough power continuously to run say a 30amp 220v kiln.  (a smaller one)  BUT.... any off grid solar installation has battery backup for when the sun doesn't shine.  (like at night... or on cloudy/rainy days)

 

If you have enough battery bank,  you can charge them up over a period of several days,  then discharge them in say 10hrs to fire your kiln.

 

Such systems use high power (like 8000w) inverter and lots of batteries.

 

With any off grid system, the inverter will also accept input power from a generator at the same time it draws from the solar pannels and batteries to meet the load requirements.   Having a small 4Kw generator run while you fire will offset how large a battery bank you will need.

 

Of course you could run the entire thing off a "whole house" generator,  8000w at 30 amp 240v is a fairly normal rateing for "larger" whole house units.

 

You'll want to go over all these details with the off grid solar person you consult to put together your system.   Based on other systems Ive seen and discussed loading for (like off grid machine shop etc)   Expect a system sized to fire a small kiln (and or decent house) to run $50,000 +

 

If your the type that defines "building an off the grid sustainable home" as one of these "micro" homes with like 500sqft,  then the above isnt going apply and you need to consider propane instead.

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In my college textbook, there was a photo, and a small write up, on kiln that used the actual solar rays themselves, to fire the wares...errr ware. Not a very efficient method. Now the solar oven, my lab partner and I made, in seventh grade science, that thing was awesome. It melted smores!!!!!!

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In my college textbook, there was a photo, and a small write up, on kiln that used the actual solar rays themselves, to fire the wares...errr ware. Not a very efficient method. Now the solar oven, my lab partner and I made, in seventh grade science, that thing was awesome. It melted smores!!!!!!

 

This one?:

http://chuck-wright.com/projects/solar_kiln.html

 

The kiln was only the size of a coffee can, but it worked. If you only want to fire one  mug at a time, it's awesome!

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Sure you can, if you want to do it directly it will take 10 to 20KW  or more of panels and the inverters that will run that much power, the problem with that other than the size of the system, is the sun is only out for so many hours each day and peak output time is even less. If you can be connected to the grid, it is much easier to do it with a Grid Tie System, that way you can have a much smaller system, and be putting power in to the grid when you do not need it, but can then use the grid power when you need more power to your kiln or other high current appliances, or if the sun is not out.

 

 I have a 7.2 kw  grid tie system that I have been using this way for 12 years, works great. Another way is find a big old generator, if you are going to be totally off grid, a big generator is a great thing to have.

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In my college textbook, there was a photo, and a small write up, on kiln that used the actual solar rays themselves, to fire the wares...errr ware. Not a very efficient method. Now the solar oven, my lab partner and I made, in seventh grade science, that thing was awesome. It melted smores!!!!!!

 

 

This one?:

http://chuck-wright.com/projects/solar_kiln.html

 

The kiln was only the size of a coffee can, but it worked. If you only want to fire one  mug at a time, it's awesome!

I had to double check my old text book. The one in there was Chip Garner, from the University of California.

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ooh, i kind of like the generator idea. or maybe just connecting to the grid for kiln purposes. the propane might work too.

 

thanks for all of the ideas. its a really good thing i have a very good friend who is an electrician!

i guess i have some homework to do!!

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Off the grid kiln = woodfired

It's not solar but off the grid

If you fire with waste wood even better

 

There are other alt fuel kilns, waste fryer oil, sawdust come to mind, not fossil fueled

 

These are all reused, sustainable, off the grid. Just not electric.

 

It's now closed but the mirror/solar farm, in Barstow California came to mind when you first posted.

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I figured my end goal would be building a wood-fired kiln once I got off-grid. Nothing else is actually "sustainable" as you'll always be reliant on an outside fuel source. However, I never did consider solar, as solar systems are rarely actually long-term sustainable. Too much expensive maintenance needed, and you'd need to shell out an insane amount to power anything with heating elements.

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Hey, whaddaya know.... This month's featured potter on the Standard Clay website powers her kilns from solar-generated electricity. http://standardceramic.com

 

Edited to add: she *does* have her array tied into the grid, and uses the credit system. So none of her solar-generated electricity is stored in batteries.

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I have solar panels on my house to produce electricity. The excess of which goes into the grid and we get paid for this by the electricity company/government. I always try to run my kiln on a sunny day to reduce the cost as much as possible. My small kiln which is 13kw can run entirely from the solar electricity if it is a nice sunny day.

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