Academia can help OSE research critical proofs of concept for deploying the GVCS in full. See Research Questions. Here we list specific ideas to be explored in applied research papers as collaborations between OSE and academia.
- Energy Efficiency Limits of 3D Printing - current work indicates 3D printing energy costs of 50 cents per lb of printed material  using common, off-the-shelf 3D printers with 40W heater blocks. While prior work shows cost advantages for printing small, high-value objects - the cost advantage disappears due to the high energy cost of larger, bulk mass objects. The current state of art for the largest availalbe off-the-shelf heater blocks is 80W for the SuperVolcano nozzle by E3D. Here we explore the limits of efficiency by making several improvements: 1. using larger nozzles (1.4 mm) with 80W and 120W heaters using innovating stacking of extruder heater blocks with specialized large-flow extruders, 2. Enclosures with varying amounts of insulation; and 3., insulated heat beds with varying levels of insulation. Predictions indicate 8x efficiency gains from higher power extruders, and 3x from the combined effect of printing enclosures and insulated heat bed. Experimental data indicates 20x energy cost decrease of 3D printing from 50 cents to 2.5 cents/lb of printed PLA assuming 10 cent/kWhr energy costs. Combined with photovoltaic-powered operation, the actual cost of 3D printing drops to 1 cent per lb, thereby making the 3D printing of large objects such as airless car tires and plastic lumber efficient in an additive manufacturing, distributed manufacturing scenario. Efficiencies are shown to approach those of large-scale industrial production - direct extrusion and mold casting. This offers potential for distributed manufacturing on a small scale to be competitive with centralized production.