The potential of 3D printing in facilitating carbon neutrality

Guibin Jiang , Dingyi Wang , Tingting Zhang , Xudong Guo , Dayi Ling , Ligang Hu


Received August 30, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 16, 2022, Available online October 25, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 85-91

At present, dramatically reduction of fossil fuel usage is regarded as a major initiative to achieve the carbon neutrality goal. Nevertheless, current energy policies are unlikely to achieve the climate goal without sacrificing economic development and people's livelihood because fossil fuels are currently the dominant energy source. As an environment-friendly manufacturing technology, three-dimensional printing (3DP) is flourishing and is considered beneficial to energy structure adjustment and industrial upgrading. Despite this, its potential to contribute to global carbon neutrality has not attracted enough attention. Herein, we explore the application of 3DP and its potential facilitating carbon neutrality from crucial sectors and applications including manufacturing, construction energy, livestock, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. The additive manufacturing and decentralized manufacturing characteristics of 3DP allow reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in manufacturing and construction sectors by optimized and lightweight designs, reduced material and energy consumption, and shortened transport processes. In addition, 3DP enables the precise manufacturing of customized complex structures and the expansion of functional materials, which makes 3DP an innovative alternative to the development of novel energy-related devices, cultured meat production technology, and CCS technologies. Despite this, the majority of applications of 3DP are still in an early stage and need further exploration. We call for further research to precisely evaluate the GHG emission reduction potential of 3DP and to make it better involved and deployed to better achieve carbon neutrality.

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