This is cool. The Fraunhofer Institute is going to build a massive solar array in the Sahara desert using a giant robot crane known as IPAnema (“IPA” for “Industrial Parallel Kinematics). They have partnered with a firm called Desertec, whose researchers have determined that utilizing as little as 1% of the Sahara’s daily solar output would power the entire world. The problem is the cost of constructing such a vast array.
Whereas the cost of hiring, feeding and housing a construction crew, not to mention the cost related to the time it would take to build the 2,270 square-mile solar farm, would be daunting, IPAnema can lift and manipulate 7-ton collectors really quickly and with great precision. The robot is operated by means of a series of cables and winches like a giant marionette. It has pinpoint precision and operates much faster than a modern crane, which sacrifices speed and accuracy to account for sway. There’s no sway with the multi-winch-and-cable-driven IPAnema. It does not sleep, it does not eat. It works day and night. That’s all it does! And it absolutely WILL NOT STOP until the job is finished.
According to an article in Popular Science IPAnema will be ready to go in 2015. It will accomplish what would take decades in a much shorter period of time. No one has actually stated exactly how long, but if you watch the video of the model IPAnema in action, you’ll see how revolutionary it’s going to be to the construction and loading industries:
The real IPAnema is going to have to be about the size of a football field.
Iraq also has vast desert areas. If this works in the Sahara, why not in other uninhabited environments with minimal human and animal populations? I’m just saying…