Construction on remote islands made easier with 3-D printed blocks from local soil.

Shipping construction materials to small, fragile islands like Cousin Island Special Reserve is a major headache. The logistics involved in freighting and landing heavy stuff like concrete bricks in an archepelagic state like Seychelles sometimes surpass the ability of the most seasoned mariner.

Now there may be light at the end of the tunnel: researchers report progress toward a sustainable building material made from local soil, using a 3-D printer to create a load-bearing structure. An advantage to using local soil in construction is that the materials would not need to be manufactured and transported to the building site, reducing both costs and environmental damage.

Globally, the construction industry is currently facing two major challenges: the demand for sustainable infrastructure and the need to repair deteriorating buildings, bridges and roads. While concrete is the material of choice for many construction projects, it has a large carbon footprint, resulting in high waste and energy expenditure. We are eagerly awaiting the commercial application of this new technology.

Landing craft stuck on the beach of Cousin Island Special Reserve after delivering construction materials for repair of Reserve infrastructure

Author: Dr. Nirmal Shah

Nirmal is a well-known and a passionate personality in the Seychelles environmental and sustainability scene having an encyclopedic knowledge of Seychelles biodiversity as well as a wealth of experience in environment management. He has worked in senior positions in the parastatal, government, private and NGO sectors and consulted for international organizations such as the World Bank, IUCN, UNEP, Sida and UNESCO. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, Radio France, PBS, NBC, ABC, SABC and others

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