Having an internship experience at a casting company made Jelle Seegers' heart move to minimize the amount of energy wasted during the set production process. Seegers is a Dutch design student working on his final project to earn his bachelor's degree at the Eindhoven Design Academy.
(Machine for melting metal with solar power)
As a design student who is required to be innovative, Seegers sees the phenomenon as a concern that must be sought how to solve it. Eventually, he created a metal smelter that harnessed the sun's thermal energy. Seegers named this eventual project Solar Metal Smelter, whose entire material is made of scrap materials.
Based on his experience, Seegers realized that metal waste in the casting industry could not be used, so it had to be remelted. Therefore, through this Solar Metal Smelter, Seegers believes that its innovation can reduce metal waste so that it can be reused.
(Tools for making Solar Metal Smelter lenses)
The sustainable concept that Seegers implemented in the Solar Metal Smelter led him to design this machine with minimal cost and low emissions. It uses a magnifying glass lens that is arranged as a roof on a large scale. The five-square-meter lens is made using polycarbonate sheets cut into ultra-precise circular facets with a machine he designed himself. Then, the lens is mounted on a machine made of stainless steel.
(Solar Metal Smelter lenses made of polycarbonate sheets)
The Solar Metal Smelter is operated by manually rotating the handle on the machine to focus the lens towards sunlight. Because the magnifying glass has a convex plane, the sun's rays will be directed at one point and conduct thermal energy in a container filled with metal. As a result, the metal will melt over time, and the metal liquid will be drained and molded inside the container.
(Solar Metal Smelter working in the sun)
Solar Metal Smelter can produce approximately four kilowatts of energy at temperatures of about 800 to 1,000 degrees Celsius and can melt about 200 kilograms of zinc or 5 kilograms of aluminum at a time. That way, the casting process can save emissions by about 95 percent.
For some students, projects like Solar Metal Smelter may not come to mind. Because this project requires precise calculations, concepts, and designs for the machine to run perfectly. Jelle Seegers has proven that with innovation and sensitivity to the environment, students can create machines that can save emissions and are sustainable.
(Metal liquid will be printed on the container)
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