|Masdar Unveils 'World's Greenest City' |
Abu Dhabi Property
December 23 - 2008
The World Energy Summit held earlier this week in Abu Dhabi served as a showcase
for Masdar, the $15bon future energy initiative that has been launched by the
Abu Dhabi government. The most eye-catching aspect of the initiative is Masdar
City, which is being billed as the 'greenest city in the world'.
Designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster, a model of the city was
unveiled at the conference. The city is a dense, walled development that
features low-rise buildings with solar panels on their roofs. It is hoped that
the city, which will be capable of housing about 50,000 people, will serve as a
model for sustainable architecture.
Zero pollution, zero waste
Masdar (which means 'the source' in Arabic) says the development will be the
world's first zero-pollution, zero-waste city. A solar-photovoltaic power plant
will deliver energy to buildings and solar canopies will be used to provide
shade, as well as power.
The city is designed to take advantage of cool sea breezes, a technique that has
been used in Arabia for ages, said Ron Heyselaar, Head of Infrastructure
Projects for Masdar. The perimeter wall around the entire development will
protect buildings from the scorching desert air and noise from the nearby Abu
Heyselaar pointed out that no cars will be allowed in the city, thus further
reducing its carbon footprint. However, pedestrians will never be more than 200
metres from a public transport option, which will include an electric light-rail
system that will be linked to the center of Abu Dhabi.
A desalination facility will be a claimed 80 per cent more efficient than
existing plants, and all wastewater will be purified and recycled to grow plants
that could be used for biofuels.
The city will be the home of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
which backers hope will attract some of the best academics from the around the
world. Also envisioned are research and development facilities from
multinational companies and start-ups in the clean technology area. It will
house about 1,500 businesses in total.
Masdar will break ground on the city in February, and the first residents are
expected to start moving there in 2009. Construction is expected to take 10
years to complete.
Other Masdar projects
Masdar City is just one element of the Masdar Initiative, which entails projects
targeting solar, wind and hydrogen power, carbon reduction and management,
sustainable development, education, manufacturing, and research and development.
Masdar plans to leverage the Abu Dhabi government's initial $15bn investment
with joint ventures and other investment partners for a grand portfolio many
times larger comprising projects in Abu Dhabi, the MENA region and globally.
Highlights of the initiative include the Masdar Clean Technology Fund, which is
dedicated to advancing renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The $250m
fund has already deployed most of its capital, one year ahead of schedule.
Masdar has also announced a strategic initiative aimed at developing an
Abu-Dhabi-based national network of CO2 capture and storage for enhanced oil
And recently, Masdar established the Zayed Future Energy Prize, which will award
over $2m annually to honour individuals and organisations for their excellence
in the innovation, development and implementation of sustainable energy
'Masdar wants to be the world leader in renewable energy and the technology
therein, and create an environment that can nurture this growth,' Heyselaar said.