Investigation and integration of local bio-based residue materials in Additive Manufacturing to enhance biodegradation, reduce plastic waste and support a sustainable circular economy

Additive Manufacturing technologies (AM, also known as 3D-printing) have the potential to induce a paradigm change in production technology. AM is a rapidly developing and highly disruptive manufacturing technology set that is expected to change much of the way companies do business. A layer by layer component buildup facilitates the production of complex and completely new geometries which are impossible to be manufactured by established processes. The inherent ability of design freedom without additional cost and the complete individualization (batch size one) allow diverse new business models which is one reason why Additive Manufacturing was classified as key enabling technology both nationally and internationally.

Another key subject, resource efficiency, has to be considered from machine as well as a material perspective to enable a moving forward towards circular economy. Especially the usage of renewable resources, as a substitute for established, conventional materials, provides relevant approaches and could actively reduce waste and CO2 emission in order to aid climate protection. However, different basic properties of these materials require adaptation of manufacturing and processing techniques as well as design of components. Here, a significant knowledge gap exists.

Overall goal of the proposed project is the utilization of locally available, renewable and biocompatible resources (ideally residue material) for Additive Manufacturing technologies, in conjunction with postgraduate education, to foster circular economy and economic growth simultaneously. Under the consideration of specific requirements, the most suitable AM processes: FFF (fused filament fabrication), paste printing and binder jetting are addressed.

The usage of biogenic residues in Additive Manufacturing is very little addressed so far. Primary focus will be on selection and adaptation of (bio-based) material, process control and evaluation of product characteristics of the manufactured part. The project will integrate young scientists and established researchers to foster an active exchange, multiplying impact of the scientific results.

Module 1 seeks to advance the state of the art on vital fronts namely the integration of new plants/residue in processing bio-based AM material, value addition of previously waste or underutilized material, and enhancing AM by advancing the frontiers of available printing material. In addition, it aims to result in biodegradable products that help reduce environmental pollution.

Module 2 will not only include students and early researchers at all stages of its implementation, but will also tailor specific modules into BSc, MSc and PhD research projects that will result in capacity development through training.

Project partners
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT); School of Mechanical, Manufacturing and Materials Engineering (SoMMME), Department of Mechatronic Engineering, Kenya

Project duration
01/2021 – 06/2025

The overall project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Logos of the project partners and sponsors


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henning Zeidler

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henning Zeidler

Head of the professorship

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 90

phone +49 3731 39 3066
fax +49 3731 39 3658
henning [dot] zeidleratimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de

Head of the professorship for Additive Manufacturing
Dr.-Ing. Lisa Kühnel

Dr.-Ing. Lisa Kühnel

Research associate

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 93

phone +49 3731 39 3749
fax +49 3731 39 3658
lisa [dot] kuehnelatimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de

Project coordinator SustainAM
Dipl.-Ing. Leif Micke

Dipl.-Ing. Leif Micke

Research associate

Karl-Kegel-Bau, Agricolastr. 1, room 94

phone +49 3731 39 3735
fax +49 3731 39 3658
leif [dot] mickeatimkf [dot] tu-freiberg [dot] de