China to build ‘world’s first’ 3D-printed hydroelectric dam

China has embarked on a project on the Tibetan plateau that will see a new hydroelectric dam built solely via artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing.

Due for completion in 2024, the dam is reportedly being constructed by a network of AI-powered robots, which will act as a giant 3D printer to build the structure layer by layer.

‘World’s first 3D-printed dam’

Flagged as the world’s first 3D-printed dam, the Yangku Hydropower Plant will be constructed over the Yellow River and stand 180 metres tall.

Once operational, the dam will reportedly be capable of generating around five billion kWh of energy and will provide electricity to 50m people in Henan Province and the surrounding areas. 

Robots will be deployed to autonomously construct the hydropower plant over the course of two years. 

AI-powered bulldozers, trucks, excavators, pavers, and rollers will build the dam layer by layer using additive manufacturing technology – essentially becoming a giant 3D printer.

Further details of the exact additive manufacturing process used for the project remain scarce.

Image credit: isabel kendzior/Shutterstock

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