Imagine you are snorkeling on your vacation. As soon as you dive in, you see the marine life up close. It’s beautiful, for the most part. You see fish, algae, turtles, average marine lives.
Hold on. What’s that? You see a white veil like object farther ahead. You decide to take a closer look out of curiosity. As you get closer to the veil, it looks as if it’s not a veil at all. You catch it in your hands and turns out the veil you thought was there, was really plastic.
This scenario is probably not surprisingly in the least bit at all. We hear stuff like this all the time. Aquatic animals drowned, starved, strangled, choked because of the plastic in our oceans.
Frankly, why wouldn’t they?
With 300 million tonnes of plastic released into our environment every year, out of which, 80 million tonnes ends up in our waters, it is a miracle if the marine species were not to confuse it with food. There have been predictions that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in our waters than animals.
The worst thing? There are so few people in the area taking actions toward it at all.
Let’s say you do end up being successful extracting the plastic out of the oceans. Well, what do you do now? There are very limited options within. In order to combat this problem, and to ensure that all plastic is extracted from the oceans and instead used as resources, Plasticity was created.
Plasticity aims to eradicate plastic waste out of the oceans altogether, and instead use plastic to 3d print homes and convert the chemicals released due to 3d printing, into usable fuel energy. We specifically use thermoplastics, which are malleable, printable, and in theory can be printed an infinite number of times.
With the progress in 3d printing, we aim to make 3d printed house commercialized and environmentally sustainable while also being economically viable.
The process from which we can make this a reality goes as follows.
- Getting Plastic Waste From the Oceans
In order to extract the waste, we use a technology similar to the Bubble Barrier System. It will comprise 3 different components, a curtain, air supply, and catchment system, each playing its significant role in the process of extracting the waste from the oceans.
With the curtain, we place a large tube in locations determined through extensive research on where most plastics are located. We make it a priority to tackle areas where plastic waste is the most prominent.
ii. Air Supply
We create pressure in the tube with the help of electric compressents. We do this because we realize that pressure is important for the waste to be compressed into the tube until we can extract it.
iii. Catchment System
Finally, we will use some sort of catchment system for the plastics to be extracted from the oceans. Most likely, we will take the tube with the plastic waste out of the ocean and extract the plastic from there.
2. Converting Waste Into Filaments To Use For 3d Printers
For this, we will be cleaning the raw plastic and converting it into actual filaments for 3d printers. 3d printers already use plastic as their filaments, however, it is not the waste plastic we are talking about. For the waste to be converted into filaments we will be using a process similar to recyclebot. Our device will take advantage of both the open source hardware methodology and the paradigm developed by the open source self-replicating rapid prototyper.
3. Printing 3d Homes For Commercial Use
We will be using specifically stereolithography, or SLA for short, technology. SLA makes use of a liquid plastic as the source material and this liquid plastic is transformed into a 3D object layer by layer. The liquid resin will be placed in a vat that has a transparent bottom, from which a UV (UltraViolet) laser will trace a pattern on from the bottom of the vat to cure and solidify a layer of the resin. The solidified structure, which will be a house, will be progressively dragged up by a lifting platform while the laser forms a different pattern for each layer to create the desired structure.
4. Converting Toxins released into Usable Energy
The toxins released into the air from 3d printers from converting the waste plastic into actual filaments would be converted into usable energy, such as methanol. Thanks to research done by numerous educational institutions, we know this process will work. The team at Plasticity will follow a tweaked version of turning CO2 into fuel, as it is not the only chemical released.
Currently, our target market are people living in congested and developing areas. The reason being is that many people living in these areas have poor living conditions and do not have a lot of space. They would not be very poor, but not overly wealthy to afford regular housing because of the, now, sky-rocketing prices, which is why 3d printing would be a great option for them.
As of current technology, a 3d printed home costs only $10,000 USD. This is a significant cost drop from an average of $420,000 USD. Additionally, this cost would not include labour as, thanks to the machine, the need for labour and to pay the labour is not there. On top of everything, 3d homes also save an enormous amount of time. On average, it takes 1,536 hours for two people to build and complete a house, while with 3d printers, it would take roughly about 24 hours, spread across several days to complete it.
Our vision spans out not only for the next couple years, but much larger than that. With Plasticity, it may be the end for plastic waste to remain only waste in the future generations. Our plan is to make 3d printed homes widely available while also making our contributions to reversing the clock on global warming. What we consider as trash today, may be viewed as treasure tomorrow!