Molding off the grid; diverting trash in LA; filling the hill with plastic – Plastics News

A lot of companies have added solar panels to their factories to improve their carbon footprint. Wittmann Group is taking the solar experiment even further, creating a solar-powered press that can operate without going on the power grid at all.
At K 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Austrian company is showing an all-electric EcoPower press that it says is a concept machine but can be built if a customer requests it.
“The idea is that the company can run the machine on its own grid, using wind energy or solar energy, and allowing it to be independent from the public grid,” Wittmann CEO Rainer Weingraber told Karen Laird from our sister paper Sustainable Plastics.
Wittmann worked with electrical systems specialist Wago so the press can use continuous current generated by solar cells directly into the injection molding lines, without first passing through inverters, transformers and high-voltage power lines.
There are, of course, many other considerations at play. Such as the logistics of keeping a machine within a protected area or at least a roof, while still having independent solar panels. But it is interesting. And as Weingraber says, K is “always the place to demonstrate innovations.”
The Ocean Cleanup’s newest trash collection system, Trash Interceptor 007, has been put to work in Los Angeles.
The pilot project in Playa del Rey, where Ballona Creek meets the Pacific Ocean, is a solar-powered, 73-foot-long catamaran with a removable barge that holds six collection bins for a combined 1,750 cubic feet of storage capacity, Los Angeles County Public Works said in a news release.
The interceptor collects trash to recycle or properly dispose of it before it reaches the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup is based in the Netherlands, but groups have similar programs in use around the globe.
Hundreds of plastic pink flamingos have wrapped up their annual visit to University of Wisconsin-Madison but left behind more than $421,000 in donations to the college.
Fill the Hill began as a student prank in 1979 to cover the campus’ Bascom Hill with the flamingos but has since been adopted as an official fundraiser.
“Every flamingo on the hill represents a gift someone has made to … UW during this period,” the university says.
The bulk of the funds raised for the Oct. 21 event — nearly 300 individual gifts — were designated for general financial aid programs. The School of Engineering, which includes the Polymer Engineering Center, was the third most popular destination.
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