Jan 3, 2009

Setting sustainability and environmental targets (4): Masdar city in Abu Dhabi

Also in the December 6 2008 Economist is an up-date on the most ambitious sustainable project in the world today: Masdar city in Abu Dhabi.

In 2006 Abu Dhabi's development agency unveiled the Masdar Initiative, to pursue "solutions to some of mankind's most pressing issues: energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development". The initiative consists of a research institute to develop environmental technologies, an investment arm to commercialise and deploy them, and an eco-city to house these two outfits and to serve as a test-bed for their ideas. All this, it is hoped, will turn Abu Dhabi into the Silicon Valley of clean technology, where green-minded academics, entrepreneurs and financiers will rub shoulders.

Some specs:

• Seed funding from Abu Dhabi: $15 billion
• Partners for the research institute: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Partners for commercialization: Credit suisse ($100 million), British Petroleum, Rio Tinto
• Anticipated population: 40,000 residents
• Strategic focus of technologies: no green house gases and no waste through next generation solar power, desalination, “personal rapid transit”. In fact, the city is expected to export 2% of its energy.

This is a refreshing change from other United Arab Emirate energy-guzzling mega-projects, such as the Dubai Ski resort built in 2005, the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 racetrack, or the proposed project to create an air contitioned beach in Dubai, as reported yesterday in the New York Times.

1 comment:

suhail said...

Glad to learn that the United Arab Emirates, a major player in tomorrow's economy, has starting to think Green.