DOE contest to crowdsource solutions for biobased 3D printing

By Erin Voegele | December 05, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced it is seeking new concepts in biobased materials for additive manufacturing as part of its Manufacturing Innovator Challenge, which is an effort to crowdsource solutions for next generation manufacturing to increase energy productivity and strengthen America’s industrial base.

Under the Biobased Additive Manufacturing challenge, the DOE is seeking ideas on how a biobased materials can be used as 3D printing materials. The DOE will award a prize of $3,200 to each of the top three applicants.

Information released by the agency explains that large-scale additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototyping of complex structures. According to the DOE, biobased printing materials are critical for making 3D printed structures renewable and potentially biodegradable. However, these materials are currently plagued with problems associated with material strength and printability. Under the BAM Prize, the DOE is looking to identify new materials that are made from at least 90 percent plant matter or algae and can meet or exceed the performance of current commercial 3D printing materials.

Those who want to enter the contest are directed to submit a four-page report outlining the description of the biobased material. The submission must include information on how to process the material, any previous 3D printing projects or tasks the materials has been used in, the biobased content of the material, the source of the biobased material, and expected applications for printed components. Submissions can also include information on projected material cost, potential supply chain and target applications.

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 10. Additional information is available on