3D Printing to Help Rescue Coral Reefs?

My trip to the Great Barrier Reef

My trip to the Great Barrier Reef

On my trip to the Great Barrier Reef in 2012 you quickly and constantly hear about the disappearance of the reef and its environmental impact, some estimates put the coral loss at 50%.  You may have heard of groups intentionally sinking old ships to create artificial reefs and often cast concrete is used, but both these struggle to produce the complexity and diversity of a natural reef.  Enter 3D printing to potentially literally save the world.  The 3D printing process creates artificial coral in the same layered process natural coral is created, allowing for unique and accurate replacement structures.  One of the areas this is being used currently is in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Bahrain in the Reef Arabia project.  The process used the D-Shape printer which uses a robotic system to create stone-like structures.  With this new technology it is possible to design unique coral structures to target specific species.  3D printing is known as environmentally friendly technology due to reduced material use and waste and projects like this will enhance the eco-friendly image even more.

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