3D Printing with Low-Carbon Concrete: Reducing CO2 Emissions and Material Waste

Concrete is second in consumption after water. Its production is on the rise and is expected to grow from 4.4 billion to 5.5 million tons by 2050. Concrete accounts for nearly eight percent of global carbon emissions. Unfortunately, this comes with a significant environmental cost. This expected growth means that stakeholders within the construction industry need to work together to integrate sustainable building materials with innovative processes.

Iberdrola, a renewable energy company, has more than 1.2million kilometers of electric transmission and power lines. Iberdrola requires more transmission networks to help facilitate the transition from fossil fuels into renewables as well as transport the green energy to customers and load centers. The energy giant decided to work with Hyperion Robotics & Peikko Group in order to reduce the environmental impact and shorten project lead times.

Optimized Structure. Image Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Optimized Structure. Image Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Optimized Structure. Image Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Optimized Structure. Image Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics

Hyperion Robotics offers a solution to optimize construction of electricity transport infrastructures by increasing efficiency and productivity. The solution is practical and timely, considering that construction is one of the most manual industries. It is also facing a shortage in skilled labour force. The large-scale 3D printing of low-carbon concrete ensures cheaper, faster, safer, and more environmental-friendly concrete construction.

Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics

Hyperion Robotics’ innovative 3D printing Microfactories is helping to reduce the amount required for structural concrete by up to 75%, and significantly reduce the amount waste. The solution not only makes the process more sustainable but also improves safety and health conditions because robots do the heavy labour while workers oversee the process.

Hyperion’s robotic 3-D printing solution solves another industry problem. The majority of waste material is not recycled at the moment. However, the printing system allows reinforced concrete with low-carbon content made from a mixture of materials from the mining and blast furnace industries. This results in significant cost savings and a 90% reduction in embodied CO2 emissions.

Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics
Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics

Hyperion’s most recent project, in collaboration with Iberdrola, a renewable energy company, and Peikko Group, a supplier of connection technology to concrete elements, was just launched with the world’s first 3D printed pad foundation.

“This [3d printed] foundation has a special quality. With the assistance of Peikko, Iberdrola, it was designed, engineered and printed. It is the first of its kind in the world and it saves 75% compared to traditional pad foundations which can be found in energy infrastructures or other types of projects.” Henry Unterreiner (co-founder of Hyperion Robotics) said.

Courtesy of Hyperion Robotics

It was tested using horizontal and vertical pull to see if the 3D-printed construction is strong enough to replace traditional pad foundations. This is a major success in terms CO2 footprint and construction method improvements for the industry’s long-term future.

Concrete 3D printing technology, robotics and concrete are exciting new opportunities for the construction industry. This improves the carbon footprint and simplifies the production of concrete elements on-site.

This project has been a great success in terms eCO2 footprint, and improvements to construction methods for the long-term industry future. Hyperion is currently working to increase the use of 3D printing in energy infrastructures. This will reduce the environmental impact and shorten lead times.

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