Masdar City

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—  Walled city  —
Rendering of the future Masdar City from the air
Rendering of the future Masdar City from the air
Masdar is located in United Arab Emirates
Location of Masdar in the UAE
Coordinates: 24°25′37.2″N 54°37′1.2″E / 24.427°N 54.617°E / 24.427; 54.617
Country United Arab Emirates
Emirate Abu Dhabi
Initiated 2006
 - Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
 - Chairman Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh
 - CEO Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber
 - Total 6.4 km2 (2.5 sq mi)
Time zone Iraq Summer Time (UTC+4)

Masdar (Arabic: مصدر‎, maṣdar, literally the source) is a planned city in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. It is an initiative by the Government of Abu Dhabi through Mubadala Development Company. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The city is being constructed 17 kilometres (11 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport.


[edit] Design and intent

The project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC).[1] Initiated in 2006, the project is projected to cost US$22 billion and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be complete and habitable in 2009.[2][3][4] The city will cover 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) on a site 6.4 km2 (2.5 sq mi) in size and will be home to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally-friendly products, and an expected 40,000 workers will commute to the city daily.[3][5][6] It will also be the location of a university, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which will be assisted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[7][8] Automobiles will be banned within the city; travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city.[9][5] The city will be walled, to keep out the hot desert wind. The lack of cars will allow for narrow, shaded streets that will also funnel breezes from one side of the city to the other.[10]

Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.

Notable partners in the project through its Clean Tech Fund include General Electric, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi, Rolls-Royce, Total S.A., Mitsui and Fiat.[11] Construction of the first phase of the project is being managed by CH2M HILL and design of the central Masdar headquarters building has been awarded to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture.[4][12]

[edit] Renewable resources

Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power sources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, built by the German firm Conergy, which will supply power for all other construction activity.[5][13] This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city's perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal power as well.[5][14] In addition, Masdar plans to host the world's largest hydrogen power plant.[2]

Water management has been planned in an environmentally-sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination plant will be used to provide the city's water needs, which is stated to be 60 percent lower than similarly sized communities.[2] Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused "as many times as possible," with this greywater being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.[9][5]

The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and some may also be utilised through waste incineration as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses.[9]

[edit] Reaction

The project is supported by the global conservation charity World Wide Fund for Nature and the sustainability group BioRegional. In response to the project's commitment to zero carbon, zero waste and other environmentally friendly goals, WWF and BioRegional have endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community.[15][16]

Some sceptics fear that the city will be only symbolic for Abu Dhabi, and that it may become just a luxury development for the wealthy.[2]

[edit] Skeptical views on zero-carbon claim

According to the magazine The Economist, the city’s zero-carbon claim "is a bit of a fudge". For one thing, the city will not produce enough energy to power itself at night, due to its reliance on solar panels. Instead, it will import gas-fired power from Abu Dhabi’s grid, at least until energy-storage technology improves. It will make up for this in its carbon accounting by exporting excess solar power to the grid during the day. In addition, to keep energy use down, the city will not allow any energy-intensive industries within its boundaries. Furthermore, Masdar will do little to improve Abu Dhabi’s carbon footprint. Cheap oil, natural gas and power will continue to spur emissions-intensive industry and conspicuous consumption. Next to Masdar city, a Formula One racetrack and a Ferrari-themed amusement park are being built. In fact, Mubadala, the development agency behind Masdar is building the world’s biggest aluminium smelter just a few miles up the road, complete with its own gas-fired power plant. A nearby mall is even planning to install an indoor ski slope, like the one in nearby Dubai.[10]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "The Masdar Initiative". Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Work starts on Gulf 'green city'". BBC News. 2008-02-10. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ a b "Masdar City: Fast facts". MEED. 2008-02-17. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon Neutral, Car Free City". Environmental News Service. 2008-01-14. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Dilworth, Dianna (August 2007). "Zero Carbon; Zero Waste in Abu Dhabi". BusinessWeek. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  6. ^ "Masdar Development" (PDF). Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Masdar Institute". Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  8. ^ "MIT, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company sign cooperative agreement". News Office. 2007-02-26. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  9. ^ a b c Palca, Joe (2008-05-06). "Abu Dhabi Aims to Build First Carbon-Neutral City". National Public Radio. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  10. ^ a b The Economist:Masdar plan, Dec 4th 2008
  11. ^ "Masdar Clean Tech Fund" (PDF). Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  12. ^ (2008-02-20). Masdar HQ to be Located in World's First "Positive Energy" Mixed-Use Building. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  13. ^ "Abu Dhabi, Germany's Conergy sign solar power deal". Reuters UK. 2007-07-02. Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  14. ^ Hamner, Susanna (2007-08-06). "World's first carbon-free city". Business 2.0 via Retrieved on 2008-05-10. 
  15. ^ World Wildlife Fund via (2008-01-13). WWF, Abu Dhabi unveil plans for sustainable city. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. 
  16. ^ (2008-01-08). One Planet Living: United Arab Emirates Endorsed Community - Masdar City. Press release. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. 

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 24°25′45.00″N 54°37′6.00″E / 24.4291667°N 54.6183333°E / 24.4291667; 54.6183333

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