AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

GE Renewable Invests in Construction 3D Printing Firm COBOD

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Last month, GE Renewable and COBOD International made big headlines in the 3D printing world, with GE’s opening of the world’s largest additive construction (AC) research facility. The facility is centered around the world’s largest concrete 3D printer, specifically designed by COBOD for GE.

Now, the two companies — which have collaborated extensively since 2019 — are making another big announcement: GE Renewable has become a minority investor in COBOD, injecting an undisclosed amount in the Danish startup. It’s not clear what the investment will entail in terms of particulars, though both companies noted that the funds will be used to build on their existing partnership.

COBOD’s founder, Henrik Lund-Nielsen, next to the world’s largest concrete 3D-printer

In a press release, COBOD’s founder and general manager, Henrik Lund-Nielsen, commented, “I am extremely proud that such an iconic and world class company like GE would like to partner with COBOD and help us deliver on the automated construction solutions of the future. Since 2019, when we began cooperating with GE, we have already sharpened our R&D competence, engineering, and industrial skills significantly as a direct result of the cooperation, and we look very much forward to continuing benefiting from the vast resources of GE.”

While, thus far, the partnership between the two companies has been focused on 3D-printed bases for wind turbines, COBOD notes that this is far from the only non-residential, low-rise application for its technology. COBOD has printed office buildings in Denmark and Austria, schools in Africa, as well as structures for the oil and gas industry. This suggests that wind turbines could likely just be the start of what COBOD and GE Renewable build together, especially considering the diversity of holdings of the latter company’s parent corporation.

Ribbon-cutting at GE’s new concrete 3D-printing facility in Bergen, NY.

COBOD is already one of the most important companies in the AC sector, and GE’s investment should solidify that status for the foreseeable future. And, it is precisely its focus on a multitude of different applications for concrete 3D printing which makes COBOD so impressive: not just homes, but also apartment buildings and schools; not just renewable energy, but also more sustainable solutions for the oil and gas industry. It seems like a good bet that GE’s investment will further augment COBOD’s versatility, opening up the second generation of possibilities for concrete 3D-printing.

Moreover, GE Renewable’s investment isn’t just a positive sign for COBOD: it’s a positive sign in the AC sector, as a whole, and not just because it means money is flowing into the space. It’s one thing to be wowed by a video of a house getting printed, but that still can’t beat a full-on endorsement by one of the most resilient multinational conglomerates in history. This, along with GE’s opening of its new research facility, are the types of developments that could lead interest in the AC sector to hit critical mass.

Images courtesy of COBOD International

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