Large quantities of algae can be a really bad sign. Their harmful blooms inform us about the fact that their environment is out of balance, usually due to fertilizer runoff or other environmental toxins. Algal blooms keep ecologists awake at night because they can also damage their environment further by absorbing oxygen and generating its own toxins. Companies like 3D Fuel and ALGIX gave the second chance to worrisome algal blooms.
Filaments made from algae are available in diameter of 1.75 i 2.85 mm. Their producer was inspired with nature by choosing and calling them: Primordial Red, Terrestrial Tan, Algae Green, Evergreen, Agave Blue, Tundra Gray and Swamp Black. The models have a natural-feeling texture similar to bone or sandstone. Barbara Zeller – Marketing Manager of 3D fuel claims that these filaments are a real thrill for FDM users who had to compromise on aesthetic, sustainability, performance or quality.
Algae-Fuel is made from biodegradable PLA combined with algae specifically harvested from areas where its excess threatens its environment. Filaments made from algae require lower temperature than PLA, they need less energy for efficient printing and are stroner and more resistant. Asthon Zeller – Director of R&D for 3D Fuel stresses that the company helps to mantain a balance in ecosystem and it can provide more sustainable materials without utilizing arable cropland.
New filaments were exibited on trade CES 2016 in Las Vegas and were very popular among the visitors. Asthon Zeller commented on it:
We are excited to launch our non-toxic and sustainable substitute for ABS, called DURA. This filament outperforms ABS in many areas, including toughness and elongation, and does not require a heated plate or heated chamber. We are also going to be launching a biodegradable flexible filament that can be used in any printer without having to change out print heads. We think that both of these filaments will have a large impact on the market, considering recent controversy surrounding ABS and other toxic materials.
Asthon Zeller – ALGIX
The controversy Zeller refers to is that of the recent study from researchers at the University of Texas, which confirmed that PLA is absolutely not a hazardous material in contrast to ABS, known to emit a carcinogen, styrene, in fairly large amounts, and thereby requiring caution and ventilation.