United States President Joe Biden recently announced an ambitious target of cutting the country’s carbon emissions in half by 2035, and part of that move includes a pledge of $6 million to fund research into turning coal waste into 3D printing materials.
This approach is also intended to avoid those in the coal and power plant industries disproportionately feeling the impacts of the shift towards clean energy, with both coal from actual mines being considered, but coal waste being the preferred option.
What will it be used for?
According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, the unique structure and composition of coal makes it a prime candidate for high-value products such as computer hardware, carbon composites and components for batteries.
This is not the first time that alternative materials have been considered for use in 3D printing. An EU funded project explored the potential of using cellulose based materials for 3D printing in the automotive, electrical insulation and marine sectors.
Food waste has also been considered, with items such as pomegranate, lemon, almond shells, and corn the top picks, with eight new bio-based materials developed.
The versatility of 3D printing
Regardless of the materials used, 3D printing is set to be used as a production method for many years to come. Already being used as a method to produce a wide range of interesting products, from houses, to artificial tongues , the versatility and availability of the process has provided the solution to many problems.
Amey Plastics is a leading UK plastic manufacturer, specialising in injection moulding and 3D Printing services.
If you’ve got a project or a concept that involves 3D printing or prototyping, get in touch today to find out how we could help by clicking here, or call us on 01730 266525.