In 1600, William Shakespeare focused on Denmark when writing Hamlet, widely considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature. Today, additive manufacturing tech providers and manufacturers focus on Denmark while rewriting the future of manufacturing. Danish AM Hub aims to lead the way in using AM technology for sustainability by utilizing the country’s renewable energy system.
And with a new investment of €5.4 million from the Danish Industry Foundation, the Hub will drive innovations forward with AM experts and the many thousand agile and innovative Danish small and medium-sized manufacturers.
Denmark the green
Denmark has been widely recognized as a pioneering country within the green transition. Experts from Yale and Columbia Universities refer to the country as leading the world on climate change action in the newly released 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI demonstrates Denmark’s leadership through several examples of the green transition.
This includes facts such as Denmark’s reduction of CO2 emissions and that 47% of electricity was sourced from wind power in 2019. Researchers also emphasize current plans of at least tripling offshore wind capacity by 2030 through the construction of two energy islands with an initial capacity of 2GW each, and Denmark’s 70% reduction target by 2030 enshrined in the new Climate Act.
The Danish green energy system has attracted large investments best illustrated by tech giants’ investments in data centers. Apple’s massive data center in Viborg is now online and will be supported by new wind energy investments. Just before Christmas, Microsoft announced the most significant investment in its 30-year history in Denmark, introducing Copenhagen as the location for its next sustainable data center region. Both centers will be powered by 100% Danish renewable energy.
AM for a sustainable future
Led by the fund Danish AM Hub, the Danish renewable energy sector will now also play a key role in unleashing the sustainable potential of additive manufacturing.
“Ever since the Bronze Age, we have manufactured with molds or milling methods. The additive is a new production method with a huge potential to cut down on material, transport, and waste,” says Danish AM Hub CEO Frank Rosengreen Lorenzen. “One of the pitfalls, however, is the large energy consumption per part, which is why we need to put the technology in play in countries such as Denmark with a large portion of renewable energy.”
Just as some of the world’s largest tech giants have focused their resources and investments on Denmark to utilize the Danish renewable energy system, large manufacturers and technology providers are now joining forces to unleash the sustainable potential of additive manufacturing.
Danish AM Hub leading the way
Already close to 50 organizations — from EOS and Stratasys to Lego and Grundfos — are joining forces in the AM Hub to unleash the sustainable potential of additive manufacturing on Danish soil, experimenting with initiatives that can move sustainable production forward.
Partners and investors have been supporting the Danish AM Hub’s objectives. The recent €5.4 million funding from the Danish Industry foundation underscores the commitment across Denmark to the future of sustainable, advanced technology development and deployment.
Danish AM Hub is set to work with Danish experts and the many thousand agile and innovative Danish small and medium-sized manufacturers to experiment with several initiatives. These will include. among other, new design methods for additive (creating more energy-efficient products) and the use of waste streams as 3D printer filament in circular models. Additional initiatives will focus on the creation of more digital, distributed, and on-demand value chains all with a focus to drive down to CO2 emissions.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation has shed light on the ‘hidden emissions’ from manufacturing: 45% of the world’s CO2 emissions come from the production of goods and land management. Half of this arises from manufacturing and how we turn materials like aluminum, steel, plastic, etc. into products.
Join the green team
Danish AM Hub brings together a committed expert team and growing network of partners and investors all joined on the mission to transform manufacturing. Failing to make such a transformation will make climate targets unachievable. By 2050, the global demand for industrial materials such as steel, cement, aluminum, and plastics is projected to increase by a factor of two to four.
We have to start prioritizing how we can manufacture with sustainable materials and with renewable energy and AM can play an important role combined with Danish renewable energy sources.
“One key initiative that we will develop with our members is to find a way to calculate the CO2 emissions by changing e.g. from formative to additive manufacturing and turning that into a piece of software that can help navigate how to manufacture most sustainably,” said Lorenzen. “We invite experts, large manufacturers, and technology providers to join us in that important initiative.”
After all, it is no longer a question of “to print or not to print” — but a question of Danish additive manufacturing experts focusing on creating the most sustainable answer. An answer is to be found in this pioneering green country: Something sustainable is 3D printed in the state of Denmark.