Last year, Dubai made headlines when the United Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee announced plans for the world’s first 3-D printed office building made with fiber-reinforced polymer composites. However, it appears the region has more plans for large-scale 3-D printing projects, as the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recently announced Convrgnt Value Engineering (LLC) will design and construct the first 3-D printed laboratory building in the world.

“The building will be printed using a system of robotic arms at the desert location,” said Convrgnt executive Vibin Paul. “The risks of working in an unshielded open environment have to be addressed and the logistics accurately controlled during the printing operation.”

DEWA says the laboratory will be built as part of the Research & Development (R&D) center at Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, and will conduct research on drones and 3-D printing technology.

The drones and 3D-printing lab include 4 sub-laboratories: the Electronics Lab, the Software Lab, the Mechanical Lab, and the Prototype Lab. The project will also include an outdoor testing facility. The Electronics Lab will conduct electrical design and repair services for drones that can be used by R&D staff, and DEWA employees. The Software Lab will develop and provide DEWA with innovative products, research, and educational solutions.

Earlier this year, Dubai proclaimed that 25 percent of all buildings in the city will be 3-D printed by 2030. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, CEO of DEWA, says these historic 3-D constructions are part of the city’s “3D Printing Strategy.”

“The construction of the 3D-printed lab … reflects our ongoing efforts to achieve the directives of our wise government. The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is a unique global initiative to use technology for the service of humanity, and promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub for 3D printing technology by 2030,” said Al Tayer.