3D printer machine nozzle

Meet our Tech #3 – Unveiling BEEYONDERS innovations: additive manufacturing

Published On 15 March 2024

The project’s advancements in additive manufacturing aim to facilitate the seamless integration of infrastructure with the marine ecosystem, minimise waste and CO2 emissions.

In the construction industry, the maritime sector poses unique challenges related to the environmental stresses that water exerts on infrastructure. And yet, BEEYONDERS may have novel solutions to address this. This episode of Meet our Tech shows how research into additive manufacturing could represent a breakthrough in building robust, sustainable, and marine life-friendly water construction.

Additive manufacturing is an industrial production process that relies heavily on new 3D printing technologies and compatible concrete printing materials. Integrated with digital control systems, additive manufacturing allows materials to be cast in the desired quantity and location, reducing material waste, costs and total construction time, ultimately decreasing the related CO₂ emissions.

BEEYONDERS’ partners HOLCIM and COBOD aim to optimise the use of this technology in marine infrastructure by formulating durable mortar compounds that withstand seawater chemical reactions and the external stresses of wave motion. A Materials Control System by COBOD and CAIDIO enables continuous monitoring of these compounds, facilitating precise adaptation and production of new building material supplies. Additionally, SEABOOST, ACCIONA, HOLCIM and COBOD, are exploring new shapes of sea caisson surfaces that can favour the settling of bio-marine diversity.

The material-saving capabilities and consequent reduction of CO2 emissions led by the use of additive manufacturing can be pivotal to the construction sector, currently responsible for more than 35% of the EU’s total waste production. Pedram Yosefipor, Department Coordinator at COBOD was quite clear in defining how this technology could positively impact the environment: “the manufacture of caissons with additive manufacturing technology has the potential to reshape maritime construction, reducing material usage by up to 50% and thereby cutting carbon footprint. This leap in efficiency represents a significant stride towards sustainability, preserving the marine ecosystem with smarter infrastructure development”.

HOLCIM, along with other project partners, will lead a series of tests between 2024 and 2025 on the 3D-printed caisson developed within BEEYONDERS and the attached artificial reef, installing them directly in the sea and measuring their performance. A Digital Twin environment will monitor the marine life development, collecting important data on how to promote ecosystem-friendly structures.

Keep following the Meet our Tech series to unveil the next technologies developed within BEEYONDERS.


Image credits: COBOD