From the cutting-edge technology adding more speed – and adrenalin-packed thrills – to Europe’s fastest roller coaster, to the world’s first solar energy tower which can power over 6,000 homes, discover the latest advancements that are changing the way we live in the newest instalment of Discovery Channel’s MegaWorld series.MegaWorld: Spain explores the technological innovations that are revolutionizing the country and the rest of the world. Hosted by Kevin Brauch (da Vinci: Unlocking the Genius, Thirsty Traveller), this fascinating one-hour special takes a closer look at how Spanish advancements in various industries are shaping European science and technology. From innovations in the areas of solar energy to high-tech developments in auto engineering, this special goes inside the fastest, coolest and biggest projects coming out of Spain.
Highlights from MegaWorld: Spain include:
Europe’s Fastest Roller Coaster
Get ready for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime as Europe’s largest theme park, Port Aventura, introduces a “wing-walker” hydraulic launcher with seats cantilevered off either side of the track. The Furious Baco ride keeps low to the ground with only one in-line rollover, but this coaster has the fastest launch speed in Europe – 135 kilometres per hour! Designed by the famous Stengel Engineering rollercoaster design firm, the Furious Baco is 850 metres in length and features the Accelerator System, which does not rely on height to gather speed, thus enabling the ride to travel close to ground level. Go behind-the-scenes at the theme park to learn more about how the mechanisms behind this high-tech coaster make it the only one of its kind in the world.
World’s First Solar Power Tower
A 40-story concrete tower surrounded by glowing beams of light standing majestically in the Spanish countryside may hold the key to developments in a clean-energy future. Surrounded by four massive arrays of 600 mirrors each, this solar tower currently generates 11 megawatts of energy – enough to power over 6,000 homes – without emitting any greenhouse gases or pollutants. Designed and built by Spanish energy company Solucar, the tower tracks the sun on its path across the sky and transforms the light into solar energy. As construction continues on this state-of-the-art tower, learn how experts believe this cutting-edge edifice may change the way energy is sourced in the future.
World’s Longest Construction Project
Designed by Gaudi, construction on the world-famous Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona began over a century ago in 1882. Not only is it still under construction, the church is estimated to be at least 80 years from completion. Renowned for its stunning architecture, based on complex and innovative geometrical shapes, the project now relies on AlphaCAM software to streamline the production of components from locallyquarried stone. Installed in 2004, along with a multi-axis Bermaq machining centre, the CAM software is used to generate accurate models in engineering foam and plastics, before committing to full-size production in stone. Watch as this segment reveals how this new technology is speeding up the work involved in the world’s longest construction project.
World’s Biggest Nightclub
Find out what it takes to prepare for Spain’s biggest party of the year as MegaWorld: Spain checks out “Mega Night” in Ibiza. To prepare for the 10,000 party revellers, club management and the international Italian promoters of Mega Night will have 24 hours to redesign the venue. Watch as organizers from different countries come together to put on an unforgettable event. Millions of bottles of liquor and water are shipped in and transported on the archival 17th century island roads, then integrated into a supply system that can account for every drop that passes the bar. Then, find out how art designers and technical crew race against the clock to assemble electrical equipment, lights and props simultaneously while overcoming unexpected challenges along the way. With millions of dollars on the line, will the party of the year go off without a hitch?
Spanish Super Car
The Tramontana is a super sports car which combines the best elements of a Formula 1 race car and a fighter jet. It is a street car of great technical precision and personalized design, fully handcrafted by a highly qualified professional team. Built in Spain's Costa Brava, the car boasts the best of automotive and aircraft technologies with a 500 horsepower V12 and a six-speed transmission. The chassis is constructed from aeronautical aluminium and has eight impact-absorption zones along with selected wood, stainless steel and gold finishes, all adding up to 949 kilograms of auto perfection. The Tramontana has developed a carbon fibre monocoque with eight deformable zones calculated for the absorption of impact energy making it the only one in the automotive world that has overcome the FIA crash tests. Take a spin in the Tramontana to see what 12 lucky buyers will experience when taking this fast, high-tech, open-wheel vehicle on the road.
Watching the Weather at the World’s Biggest Sailing Race
All America's Cup teams in Valencia have at least one meteorologist working full time on weather observation and forecast. But the existence of MDS – the Meteorological Data Service – is revolutionizing the race. MDS is a set of 21 purpose-built buoys spread around the north and south race courses that, along with six inland base stations, provide weather information to all 12 teams in real time. Watch as each buoy and station records and transmits wind direction, speed, barometric pressure and humidity to each team in the race every 15 seconds. Knowing how to approach weather and wind speed is the single biggest factor in determining who will win the sailing race. MegaWorld: Spain profiles the defending champion, Switzerland’s Team Alinghi, by shadowing their meteorologist in addition to meeting the engineer who designed the metrological network for this year’s competition.
World’s Second Largest Hot Air Balloon Plant
Catalonia is home to the second largest hot air balloon manufacturer in the world. The Ultramagic headquarters and factory is located just outside of Barcelona. Here, teams of air balloon experts make balloons that are exported around the world. Equipped with the most up-to-date technology, the plant manufactures ambitiously-constructed balloons ranging in size from those suitable for a private pilot to large passenger-carrying balloons. Watch as these world famous balloons – often in the most unique shapes and styles – are tested for safety and quality on site just after they are constructed.