Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City is an example of a future that can make air pollution a thing of the past. A region that when mentioned, brings oil, sand and heat to mind, is making history by being the home to the first renewable energy city in the world. In a time when technology reigns and people follow, a merging is occurring that allows both to flourish healthily. It is envisioned for Masdar City to exist as a hub for an open technology platform where companies are encouraged to create environmentally viable technology.
Destined to be a trailblazing eco-friendly experience, Masdar City is expected to be fully functional by 2025. The United Arab Emirates, which has the seventh largest oil and gas reserves in the world, built the world’s largest thermal solar plant. Their energy loads are 50% lower than the norm, allowing the extra energy to go into the grid. As a result, Masdar City is sustained by energy which does not increase levels of air pollution.
Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen said the region’s temperatures are similar to Phoenix, Arizona. This being the case, a lot of energy is used to produce comfortable living conditions for those who will live there and for those who visit. To address this necessity, energy efficient buildings are the norm in Masdar City. All buildings are made with eco-friendly building materials, innovative design and ancient Islamic architectural features.
For instance, Siemens’ headquarters building in the city uses shading to optimize natural light transfer to its interior, which limits the amount of direct sunlight entering in. This means the indoors are cooler and less air conditioning is used to sustain temperatures, according to Christopher Sorensen who is in charge of Corporate Development and Strategic Global Partnerships at Masdar.
Being the first to take on a vision this huge, means there is a large amount of trial and error expected. The first phase of the project was to be completed by 2015. World economics altered that plan and completion is now forecast to occur by 2025. Masdar is an Arabic word which means “the source.” The source is what the city will be, with self-driven electric cars, research laboratories, commercial space and room for plenty of residents; 40,000 of them, plus 50,000 daily commuters, are part of the vision. Commuters will leave their cars in a designated area and use free public transportation to get around.
Masdar Clean Energy, Masdar City and Masdar Capital are part of Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi Government. In addition, there is also the Masdar Institute, the government’s not for profit private graduate university that focuses on advanced energy and sustainable technologies. The institute collaborates with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on a regular basis. Recently, Masdar Institute and the University of Tokyo agreed to collaborate on academics and research, during the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in 2014.
Masdar City welcomes the general public to visit any day of the week from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm. Being a city where carbon emissions are not welcome, visitors must park their cars at the North Car Park location that is near the Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) station. The PRT is available free of charge, for exploring. The city plans to create a high quality living and work experience while creating a minimal environmental footprint. This future, that is greatly needed, is very near. There are many who are waiting to enjoy Masdar City; a city without air pollution.
By Dada Ra