UOW project uses plastic waste to 3D print furnished homes


The project has been funded under the National Science Foundation’s Convergence Accelerator Program Track I: Sustainable Materials for Global Challenges.

The project is titled “Designing for Circular Economics: Creating Impact from Local Plastic Waste Using Off-Grid Containerized 3D Printers and Practice-Based Learning.”

As part of the project, the University of Wollongong (UOW) says its teams will focus on the net zero aspect in the design of a scalable and accessible, net-zero-footprint 3D printing-based manufacturing system that is comfortable to work in, can be moved easily between construction sites and enables lay users to design and manufacture goods from plastic waste onsite.

The UOW says it aims for the result of the project to be furnished homes that are sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing, with a significant socio-economic impact.

Imagine a world that supports the sustainable manufacturing of furnished homes using local plastic waste.

Project lead Dr Aziz Ahmed, a lecturer in Structural Engineering in the School of Civil, Mining, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at the UOW, is part of an international cross-disciplinary team focused on finding a solution to the “scourge of plastic” and further integrating the material into the circular economy.

Dr Ahmed is working in a team led by Texas-based social enterprise re:3D. The cross-disciplinary team also includes researchers from Austin Habitat for Humanity, The University of Texas at Austin and Western Sydney University.

Commenting on the project, Dr Ahmed, said: “Imagine a world that supports the sustainable manufacturing of furnished homes using local plastic waste, while not only diverting garbage from landfills but also creating jobs and training under-represented talent.

“What if this opportunity could be scaled globally in both rural and urban areas in a modular package?

“I am very excited for the opportunity to work on such a visionary project, and even more so as it is under the umbrella of National Science Foundation’s Convergence accelerator program, which aims to accelerate convergence research into application and commercialisation.”

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