Despite the fact that we know oceans and coasts are home to diverse living things, little attention is often given to lifecycles, habitats and inter-relationships of marine life and the way human influences as well as changing environmental conditions can determine their future.
Nadia Fani, Founder of Coastruction, dedicates her core business to solutions that can enhance marine life. A part of this Opinion of the Week, we caught up with her to discover the different areas of improvements that still need to be made to enhance marine life.
With a degree in Computer Science, Fani first came to 3D printing through 3D modelling. Her interest in the technology first led her to D-Shape, a manufacturer of construction 3D printers with headquarters in Italy. One project leading to another, she found herself working on a project for Boskalis, a Dutch dredging and heavylift company that provides services relating to the construction and maintenance of maritime infrastructure internationally.
“What was supposed to be a project of a few months changed my life totally”, Fani told 3D ADEPT Media. Then, she realized that existing construction companies no longer focus on beauty, and the functional purpose of what they build, all these elements were sacrificed over costs.
The truth is, “if we want to give a second chance to marine life to thrive again, we need to have multi-purpose structures. This means, big and smaller cavities, all different types of shapes that marine inhabitants like, all of which cannot be achieved using extrusion, casting and moulds”, the expert says.
These are the main reasons that led Fani and her cofounder Astrid Kramer create Coastruction. With 3D printing at the heart of their manufacturing approach, the company is on “a mission to giving a second chance to cement, making it more sustainable, while building nice structures and saving the ocean.”
Multi-purpose structures that can be 3D printed
Coastruction is services provider that believes in the use of 3D printing to deliver affordable solutions with the greatest shapes. If the company works in collaboration with D-Shape to achieve its projects, Fani lays emphasis on the fact that they have “revisited binder jetting technology so that it fits the production needs of marine structures.” “What we bring is the ability to upscale this technology, bringing it from a prototype level to an industrial level through our projects”, she adds.
As you may know, one of the most-widely used materials in construction 3D printing is concrete. Not only do the team print with this material, but they can also print with other natural materials such as sand, and surprisingly water.
“No additives are needed in our process. We use local and natural materials like (sea)water, cement or limestone and local aggregates, such as the sand from nearby beaches or the seabed. We bring a better approach for the same price than conventional manufacturing processes”, she assures.
However, this transformational approach to construction also comes with its share of challenges.
“With 3DP, you have infinite solutions but working with water as a binder is really challenging. The main challenge is to have a proper solution and a nozzle that will allow us to spread water, and achieve desired precision. As a matter of fact, water has a viscosity that makes the manufacturing process complex to control”, Fani notes.
The next step for Coastruction
With their manufacturing approach, Coastruction is contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals 12, 13 and 14 established by the United Nations.
Worldwide consumption and production rest on the use of the natural environment and resources in a way that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet. Goal 12 therefore aims to drive responsible consumption and production. Goal 13 encourage companies to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts whereas Goal 14 aims to preserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
For a company that is just at the beginning of its journey – the company was founded last year amid the pandemic -, Coastruction already has promising collaborations in sight with both national and international construction names of the industry.
“As a young company, we need finances because we want to build a bigger machine. The first step would be a one cubic meter and we will adapt it to the market, of course. However, most importantly, at this stage, we are open to any collaborations”, Fani outlines.
All these needs seem justified, for the team that ambitions to restore reef systems, protect coastlines and inspire people to achieve a sustainable relationship with marine ecosystems.
Remember, you can post job opportunities in the AM Industry on 3D ADEPT Media free of charge or look for a job via our job board. Make sure to follow us on our social networks and subscribe to our weekly newsletter : Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram ! If you want to be featured in the next issue of our digital magazine or if you hear a story that needs to be heard, make sure to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org