Today, when the community of 3D printing enthusiasts daily produces kilograms of plastic waste from their projects, the question of finding new, environmentally friendly alternatives to the traditional plastic used in 3D printers is even more acute. Especially when it comes to initiatives to build 3D-printed houses. Recently, Dutch industrial company NNRGY Crops announced the development of bio-concrete for 3D printing of buildings based on the Miscanthus giganteum, a grass that grows mainly in East Asia, which is also known as giant Chinese silver grass, or Chinese miscanthus.
The founder of NNRGY Crops, entrepreneur Jean-Govert van Gilst, is about to launch a project that will build several buildings from this new material as an example over the next two years. The facilities will be located in the city of Zwoll, the Netherlands.
In order to reduce the environmental impact, Gilst decided not to spend on transporting tropical plants from Borneo, but to grow them in his homeland, in particular, on the lands purchased for this in Rotterdam, Lansingerland and Zutphen. And now, with partners, Eindhoven University of Technology and Cybe and Concrete Valley, NNRGY Crops plans to set up the Living Lab to develop lightweight, environmentally friendly structural elements using 3D printing technology. Ultimately, it is planned to use these elements, made on the basis of bio-concrete, for the construction of residential buildings.
The new bio-concrete is a mixture of traditional components (sand, water and cement) with the addition of dried and ground silver grass, which is rich in proteins and fiber, acting as a binding agent (class, now you can grow food on the walls!). Currently, Gilst and partners are working on improving the material to give it the necessary properties - fire resistance, good heat-insulating and energy-saving characteristics. Moreover, its cost should be lower than the cost of alternative materials that exist today in the construction market. And through the use of 3D printing, Gilst plans to reduce the amount of waste and make small-scale production of building elements from new bio-concrete possible.