Continuum Aims for Zero Carbon Footprint with Recycled Metal 3D Printing


As stated by Additive Manufacturing Research (AMR), the value of metal 3D printing materials was at $920 million in 2023. Interestingly, only a minute proportion of this sector is genuinely devoted to crafting high-quality powders from recycled metals. It is anticipated that this will evolve as resource scarcity, escalating prices, and environmental impacts propel manufacturers toward more sustainable options.

A key player guiding this emerging trend is Continuum Powders. This startup, based in Houston, is mitigating the environmental effect of metal AM by finalizing contracts with Priority Power and Airgas. The implication of these deals is that the company will not only fabricate materials from totally recycled metal, but will also significantly cut down overall energy consumption.

The agreement with Priority Power will involve Continuum receiving electricity that is 100% renewable, sourced from hydropower. This transition to renewable electricity is projected to considerably slash energy consumption – from 1700 kWh/kg right down to just 17 kWh/kg, a minute fraction compared to traditional grid electricity reliance. In a further assertion of its sustainability commitment, Continuum Powders has also formed a partnership with Airgas for argon gas supply. This gas, which is vital in metal powder processing, will now be certified as being produced with 99.8% renewable green energy.

Caption: The Greyhound M2P 3.0. Image courtesy of Continuum Powders.

Continuum announced the launch of its latest Greyhound M2P (melt-to-powder) platform last November, as reported on This system uses a high-intensity DC plasma heat source to melt and atomize alloyed metal waste into powder in a single step. This method significantly lessens transportation, handling, and processing expenses while also decreasing the requirement for mining fresh metal resources. Anticipations are that the combined influence of these renewable energy sources, in conjunction with Continuum Powders’ unique processing methods, will bring the company’s overall energy consumption close to zero.

Continuum Powders CEO, Phil Ward stated, “It’s one thing to claim to be ‘green’ or use green energy. However, it’s entirely another thing to truly commit to the movement and provide customers with a genuinely transparent, sustainable offering that has a tangible and quantifiable impact on their own sustainability and decarbonization projects. Among metal powders companies today, Continuum Powders is unique in striving to reduce its carbon footprint throughout every stage of the supply chain, with the goal to reach net zero carbon intensity.”

Grandview Research reveals that the global recycled metal market had a worth of $1.07 billion in 2022 and expects it to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent from 2023 to 2030. With AMR’s near $1 billion estimate for metal AM materials for 2023 overall, Continuum finds itself at the forefront of a small group of firms concentrating on recycling metal into metal powders for AM, including 6K and IperionX.

If we apply a 2:1 weighting favoring the AM market growth rate, accounting for its fast growth relative to the overall recycled metals size, we could predict a CAGR for recycled metals for AM at around 24 percent. Albeit an estimate, this figure could accurately represent reality, considering the wide range of initiatives being undertaken by the Biden Administration and governments worldwide.

Because AM firms are already touting the technology as sustainable, it will become increasingly necessary for companies in the sector to address such important considerations as energy input. By doing so early on in its roadmap, Continuum has given itself a head start that may be crucial amid global decarbonization. For instance, when government agencies are awarding grants for advanced manufacturing, they may go for the more sustainable of the bunch.

Original source


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