Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
missholly

Solar Powered Kiln?

Recommended Posts

Interesting how this has polarised and developed since it was started.

 

We have recently installed a photo-voltaic array on the roof of the studio (how convenient) for our domestic use. We're in the UK which is not noted for clear skies and blistering sunshine. However, we are currently generating 20 -30 kwh per day, about half that in winter, and it even generates a useful amount when it's cloudy. During the day we can use the power generated to heat all our water, for example, with a 3kw immersion heater.

 

My new kiln runs off a standard domestic 13amp plug (therefore less than 3kw), even though there's a point in the studio which the original owner had installed with a kiln in mind. The kiln works perfectly and consumes less electricity than the water heater, so would be perfectly able to be operated on solar power - but only when it's sunny. That's the weak link at present, but I'm certain it won't be long before that little hitch has been overcome. Meanwhile we trade our surplus with the power company/government like other people here.

 

For what it's worth, the panels and kiln are German. Coincidence? Or maybe they are more forward thinking than the rest of us? Whatever, I wouldn't dismiss the prospect of being able to fire my kiln using just solar energy sometime soon.

 

And Rakukuku is spot on about power.

 

Girts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grits:

I have been following the solar panel industry for almost ten years. They have 2 x 4 panels approaching 400 volts. I am on a rural co-op: so I only pay a variable rate of .06-.08 cents per kilowatt. Yet, at some point I would like to install a system on the back roof line which gets full sun all day. I seen where Sharp has developed a snap=on grid system, which makes it even easier to install. As much as the EPA has come down on Cadmium (rightfully so in most cases), it is still a major component in solar panel construction because of its refractive index and absorption properties.

Nerd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If a solar powered kiln is not feasible, its not possible. It'd make more sense to use a solar panel to run a burner and power the kiln with propane or natural gas and maybe supplemented with limbs. I think if all the equipment needed to run a cone six to ten glaze firing were added together there would be a reality check that would put this idea in perspective.

 

You can google, "solar panel death zones for birds" to see how destructive the heat generated from solar panels fries birds flying thru or across these solar farms.

 

Taking everything into consideration, its not feasible.

In of course MMHO,

Alabama

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Neil, it is a small kiln and it's also a small PV array. But that's missing the point. The point is that running a kiln off solar power is possible. Just in this thread we have someone else in the UK and someone in Australia doing just that to some degree. Earlier posts dismissed the possibility out of hand as totally impossible. I'm just pointing out that it is possible now and kilns will become more efficient as will solar power systems. So it won't be that long before larger kilns can be run that way. The problem is that Elon Musk doesn't find kilns as sexy as cars; if he did it would be happening more quickly ☺

curt likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Soooo,

If you had a small electric kiln, one acre of land next to the shop,(for the solar panels) $8,000 to $43,000 dollars, a power sub-station, then you too could bisque and fire up to 15 cone 06 cups! Yeah, right!

 

You're proving the nay sayers point effectively.

 

Alabama

Min likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Alabama, I have to protest.

 

Please read what I actually said. I said nothing about needing an acre of land, or a sub-station, or spending $43,000! Nowhere near that! So please don't mis-represent me. I simply said what several other people and I are experiencing at present. That we can use solar power effectively. Obviously, there are problems at night, which is why we power-share with the National Grid, selling at some times, buying at others. Even today, when it's been raining most of the time, we have been generating a useful amount of electricity which has been sold to the power company. I haven't fired the kiln today but we're still being paid for what we generate.

 

Two years ago, when this thread was started, solar was far less efficient than it is today; next year it will be more efficient still. And that was the point I was making. The question was is it possible to use solar power to fire a kiln. The answer is obviously yes: there are enough people posted here who are doing it. There are provisos, as with any form of energy, but it can be done. And it will only get better as the technology improves and other energy sources like oil and gas dwindle and become more expensive.

 

Girts

curt likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can google, "solar panel death zones for birds" to see how destructive the heat generated from solar panels fries birds flying thru or across these solar farms.

The use of the term "solar panel" in this case is misleading.  This is a different kind of solar power than is acquired from what is normally called a "solar panel".  When you Google "solar panel death zones for birds" the hits are about the kind of "solar farm" that uses an array of mirrors to focus sunlight at a tower.  Then there is the "solar panel" that directly converts sunlight into electric current.  This is the kind of solar power most used in a residential area - and most likely to power a solar kiln.  Though, an array of mirrors could also be used.  What the heck, put the kiln in the tower and then control the temperature by manipulating the mirrors!  But, mind the birds, too.

High Bridge Pottery likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  What the heck, put the kiln in the tower and then control the temperature by manipulating the mirrors!

 

Check out Studio Potter magazine from back around the Carter Era.  Been done.

 

best,

 

................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

please let me define solar power differently.

 

Def: Solar power is power derived from the sun in any of its forms.

1. Photosynthesis uses light photons to fix CO2 to create sugar. The result is wood, which is used in kilns.

2. Photovoltaic as mentioned in this thread is solar energy.

3. Photosynthesis + pressure + time = coal which when burned can create electricity that we use to fire kilns.

4. Uranium is a product of fusion. Suns are giant fusion reaction. So even nuclear energy is solar energy.

 

Is there any energy on this earth which is not "solar energy?"

 

It does not change a thing, but even so, after all of these posts, it's nice to know.....

 

Jed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×