Cement is used in almost all outlets of construction. From schools to roads to dams to houses, cement is the second most-consumed resource in the world. Consequently, all the cement used in the world contributes to approximately eight percent of all global carbon emissions. Moreover, cement contributes to flooding, water pollution, and soil erosion. While cement industries around the world have promised to decrease their net carbon emissions, cities and countries are beginning to seek different venues for infrastructure. Most notably, Dubai looks to implement its idea of the 3D printed building make up one-quarter of all new buildings by the year 2025.
Why A 3D Printed Building?
Initially used for creating small models and alternatives to plastics, 3D printing has created enormous strides this decade. From 3D printed cars to houses to organs, the limits to the technology are endless.
In regards to infrastructure, 3D printing provides a more sustainable and cheaper way to create infrastructure.
It’s Cheaper, Especially In Upscale Regions Like Dubai
Due to the extreme reduction in raw material required to construct parts, the cost for printing a building can be reduced by up to 80%. Moreover, construction companies wouldn’t have to waste time waiting for materials to get from a warehouse to a building site. Using multiple large-scale 3D printing machines would also cut the amount of time building a house by an exponential amount.
They Are More Sustainable
Along with the carbon emissions that cement and traditional building create, it also produces massive amounts of waste. The technology is a sustainable way to eliminate that waste. In fact, recyclable plastics and imperishable materials are used to create cement mixtures for 3D printers. Most of the concerns that arise from 3D printed housing come from its current lack of versatility. Like all inventions, however, there is always room for innovation.
Dubai Has An Ambitious Vision for 2025: Have The 3D Printed Building Move Past Being Theoretical
A city known for its extravagant skyscrapers and its affluent population, Dubai desires to one day have 3D printing play a major role in the continuous building of the city. The Prime Minister of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, has specifically said it would have 25% of all new buildings be 3D printed.
And they’re already making progress. Dubai has already 3D printed its first office building.
ACCIONA, a Spanish-based infrastructure management company, just recently opened up its very first global 3D printing center in Dubai. It aims to aid the city in its desire to create a more sustainable infrastructure system. ACCIONA’s 3D printing facility will help in all outlets of manufacturing from research to actual building.
The CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation spoke for the World Economic Forum in regards to 3D printed housing. “The idea is to start with 3D printed parts that are actually being addressed in the market at the moment, whether it’s door hinges or knobs or frames,” he says. The CEO continues to talk about how innovations like these would attract scientists and engineers from around the world to join the project.
Becoming a city that relies so heavily on 3D printing will be no small task. Starting small and innovating for larger projects is key in a vision like this. Dubai is keen on accomplishing this task. The limits to 3D printing are endless, and as Dubai begins to utilize this technology, other cities may follow suit.