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.