Circular Supply Chain for the City

Something unexpected is growing in the waters of Amsterdam: seaweed! What are these plants doing amidst the bustle of the city? They will provide the biomass for manufacturing new local goods using 3D-printing techniques.

The project team of ‘A circular supply chain for the city’ has researched the use of locally produced biomass, seaweed, for 3D-printing. After drying and grinding the seaweed wich was growing at Amsterdam’s Science Park, the powder can was converted into raw material for 3D-printers, the so-called filaments. In this way, several products could be made and replace traditional platic products such as for example cutlery.

The rapid growth in global urban populations increases the pressure to find more sustainable ways of producing. To enable cities like Amsterdam to become more circular and sustainable, one must take a new look at the whole production processes. This way, one can devise methods for sustainable manufacturing capability and close local supply chains.

Designing a local supply chain
A technique that is well suited for designing, producing and using products in one locality is 3D-printing. 3D-printing is an ideal component of new decentralized production processes and can catalyze the upcoming circular economy. However, the materials needed for printing are currently imported and based on the traditional (bio)plastic industry, involving unknown sources, undesirable transport and emission in increasing quantities.

Local and biobased supply chains have the ability to make metropolitan areas more independent and result in an enhanced interconnectedness of various local suppliers of (bio)materials and upstream manufacturers.

This project was an AMS Stimulus Project. The aim of Stimulus Projects is to give to new and existing AMS partners support to innovative research that has a strong upscaling potential. The projects should realize short-term research output, which act as a catalyst of a new solution direction, concept or approach.

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