ORNL 3D building and car

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) of the US Department of Energy (DOE) has unveiled a 3D-printed building designed by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The laboratory’s Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration unveiled the 210ft² house at the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industry Day event.

Prototyping for the project was conducted in less than a year, which involved support from the University of Tennessee (UT), Clayton Homes, General Electric, Alcoa, NanoPore and Tru-Design.

The building is powered by a 3D-printed vehicle developed by ORNL.

The development is expected to function as an integrated energy system that connects a natural gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle with the solar-powered building through a lab-developed wireless technology.

"We designed a building that innovates construction and building practices and a vehicle with a long enough range to serve as a primary power source."

Integration of the 38ft x 12ft x 13ft building with the 3D-printed vehicle makes it possible to connect two independent energy streams with buildings and transportation.

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ORNL researcher Roderick Jackson, who led the AMIE demonstration project, said: "Working together, we designed a building that innovates construction and building practices and a vehicle with a long enough range to serve as a primary power source.

"Our integrated system allows you to get multiple uses out of your vehicle."

ORNL Energy and Environmental Sciences associate laboratory director Martin Keller said: "We’re looking at large community issues from the single-unit level.

"Our research provides solutions on a small-scale, which will translate to a significant reduction in energy use and an increase in cost savings when ramped-up to a national, and even global, level."

Image: Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s AMIE demonstration connects a 3D-printed building and vehicle. Photo: courtesy of Carlos Jones / Oak Ridge National Laboratory.