Building a town house from bio-based plastics: how 3D printing with biomaterials can minimize our carbon footprint and revolutionize the world

Newly published book ‘3D Printing with Biomaterials’ explores the promises of 3D printing with biomaterials towards a sustainable and circular economy

Amsterdam/Delft, February 6th 2015 – How can 3D Printing revolutionize the world? In the newly published book ‘3D Printing with Biomaterials’, authors Ad van Wijk and Iris van Wijk explore the promises of 3D printing with biomaterials towards a sustainable and circular economy. This is illustrated by a remarkable example: the printing of an entire town house from bio-based plastics, made from sugar beets. The resulting carbon footprint for material is reduced by more than 60%.

Prof. Dr. Ad van Wijk says: “Truly sustainable and circular products can be realized by 3D printing with biomaterials, and we are determined to explore the synergistic effect of this revolutionizing technology combined with biomaterials.”

The book describes two paradigm shifts that will revolutionize the economy: 3D printing and biomaterials. The first shift holds the promise to manufacture on demand, locally and with less waste and energy. It may use a wide range of material types such as metals, ceramics, sand, synthetic materials such as plastics, and even food or living cells. The second shift is that synthetic materials, such as plastics, can be made of different types of biomass such as maize, sugar beets or even organic waste. These biomaterials can almost completely substitute fossil-based plastics. "The material cycle can be closed by feeding the printer with filament based on biomaterials, such as bio-based plastics. By doing so, we contribute to a sustainable and circular economy," explains Iris van Wijk.

The research is done in The Green Village, in cooperation with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA). The Green Village is developing on the campus of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and brings scientists, students and enterprises together to create a sustainable and lively environment where innovative solutions for today’s urgent challenges can be found. The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA) studies the application of bio-based plastics in high-value products in the research program Urban Technology.


About the book:
3D Printing with Biomaterials: Towards a Sustainable and Circular economy
January 2015, 86 pp., softcover
Authors: Ad van Wijk and Iris van Wijk
ISBN 978-1-61499-485-5 (print)
ISBN 978-1-61499-486-2 (online)
DOi 10-3233/978-1-61499-486-2-i
Open Access - funded by TU Delft Open Access Fund

About the Authors:
Ad van Wijk is professor Future Energy Systems at Delft University of Technology. He is the creator of The Green Village, and has a background in both science and entrepreneurship. As co-founder of Ecofys (1984), which later grew into Econcern, he has a wealth of experience and expertise in sustainable energy. Amongst others he was the Dutch entrepreneur of the year in 2007.

Iris van Wijk is lecturer sustainability and researcher at the research program Urban Technology of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA). The research project ‘Design Challenges with Biobased Plastics’, is conducting research in the application of biobased plastics in high-value products and is part of the research program Urban Technology.

Prof. dr. Ad van Wijk:
Iris van Wijk, MSc: