3D printing may be a long term solution to the carbon problem.
Carbon fiber is a mechanical engineer’s dream. It has great properties for building physical things. 3D printers will improve toward using carbon fiber and substrates because of the combination of physical properties and the simplicity of a supply of carbon.
Imagine a world in which we can have carbon fiber skyscrapers and vehicle parts — buildings and physical things that cost little to produce from carbon collected from the environment, possibly the air.
MIT is already able to print a building with a sandwiched layer of concrete and insulation. In a decade, this will be possible on a commercial scale. In two decades, smart machines will offer choices of building materials and be easily customizable from libraries of public designs.
I’m not suggesting that we should ignore the carbon problem. I’m suggesting that a good solution might be to invest in carbon demand. Specifically:
- Carbon collection system: collect, purify, and prepare carbon fiber from CO2.
- Carbon fiber printing system: build up structures with fibers running in the right directions.