Masdar is a project developed in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The core of Masdar is a well-planned city. It is constructed by the construction builder Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, which is a branch of the Mubadala Development Company. The major part of capital finance is given by the government of Abu Dhabi. The project is designed and planned by the Foster and its Partners, which is British architectural firm. Masdar city will sustain completely on sources of renewable sources for example, solar energy and various other resources which has a sustainable, zero-waste and zero-carbon ecology. The city is stretches about 17 kilometres (11 miles) in the east-south-east of Abu Dhabi, alongside Abu Dhabi International Airport. It would be the host for the headquarters of the (IRENA) International Renewable Energy Agency.
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Masdar has faith in capability of humankind for development of cheaper, cleaner, and efficient sources of energies for usage in order to overpower the climatic and environmental changes in a responsible and effective manner. It was established in April of 2006 as Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a multifarious organization making development towards the commercialization and full functioning deployment of all possible renewable energy and providing solutions regarding cleaner ecological technologies. It combines the idea of the full renewable sources of energy with a clean technology lifecycle taking it from research point of view to the level of commercial deployment trying to fulfill the ultimate objective of developing a scalable and clean technology of renewable sources of energy. (Masdar Carbon, 2010)
Importance of topic
Masdar City Project will not utilize any zero gas or oil resources. Hence it can be said that contribution to causing greenhouse gases would be minimal. Masdar is the central piece of Emirate’s and Abu Dhabi’s plans of having a market for renewable energy sources, a measure against the time when the oil wells and resources situated there run dry.
An animated depiction of the design shows narrow streets covered with buildings which are modern still capture the essence of an ancient city of Arab. It appears that making plans identical to those of historic designs of ancient times will help designers reach their aim of energy goals they wish to accomplish.
The city planners say that 80% of water used in city would be recycled. This needs a change of thinking. According to Peter Sharratt, who is working with WSP a British energy consulting firm, they normally have a linear process. They take in water through the taps, use it. And then it further goes down straight in the drain. In this way it gets to be used once only. But the design of Masdar City would be reusing water for as many times as it is possible. For example, one of the ideas involves capture of the leftover of water of crops which is known as irrigation recovery. The method works like as follows: After irrigation of crops water goes down through the top 2 or 3 feet layers of soil and then meets plants’ requirements and underground water collection system recovers whatever amount of water is left. This water can then be used for irrigation again on some another occasion or redirected for another purpose. (Masdar Introduction, 2010)
Emissions of gases Related to Construction
The basic idea behind Masdar City is to construct a place where is no carbon footprint. Owing to the fact a lot of construction site equipment use gas, it can be said that some carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere while construction, which will result in having an adverse effect on eco system. This can be an offset putting extra solar energy or by growing trees or back into national power grid of Abu Dhabi. But evaluation of a carbon footprint is more complicated than this according to Liz Darley. She works with Bioregional, the British firm which will be assessing Masdar City’s carbon footprint calculations. She further added that what they are planning to do is deciding where to draw lines for the boundary which in itself is a complex job as it could include the entire expenditure of carbon even when the project team is travelling between Europe and Middle East. Hence it is very tough to estimate the overall carbon cost incurred on building the Masdar city as it will depend upon where you will draw you boundaries. (Palca, 2008)
A Goal to Curb Energy Use
One of the major goals of Masdar City plan would be to become the first city where emission of carbon is zero. Shaded walks and narrow streets would be helpful in reducing the need of air conditioning. The city will be oriented northeast direction to minimize and reduce the amount of sunlight directed on buildings’ windows and sides. Solar collectors and solar panels on the roofs and at remaining places would be helpful in generation of sufficient electricity in order to fulfill the requirement of Masdar City. Another aim of Masdar City is to prohibit cars in the city. But city is not small enough for its inhabitants to cover by walking. Hence designers are planning for a system called a (PRT) personal rapid transit system. According to Scott McGuigan of the CH2M Hill, it is really a car. It can be seen as a simple vehicle for six passengers. It is designed in shape of a car, but is powered by solar energy and with batteries. These cars powered by solar power would be running under the city just in ways like a subway system. But these cars would not run on fixed roads and routes, rather they can be taken anywhere a passenger wishes to go. He further adds that PRTs show an energy-efficient manner of moving around people among 1,500 stations approximately. The passenger can program the station they wish to go and the vehicle will transport them to that station.
Handling of Waste Management
One of the major aims Masdar City is going to deal with is to become the first city to manage waste in such a manner that waste is converted into energy and is possibly reduced to zero. In real facts, waste could be reduced to be very close to zero, as some material cannot be transformed to energy or be recycled. But as far as human waste is concerned, it would all be repurposed. The nutrients would be recovered and then used to generate soil which can be further used as component of the requirement of landscaping. The part of the sewer sludge would again be processed in waste-to-power plan. This plan to recycle or reuse as much as it is possible would permeate the strategy. According to Mc Guigan, they are constantly in search for materials which can be reused or recycled. He further added that they are looking at recyclable plastic so as to use to it for construction of site fencing. Later on that fencing could be sold to the manufacturer and be again recycled for reselling it again. So it has a purpose at the end. Designers are even beginning to plan, how could the concrete, used for building Masdar City, be recycled so as to reuse it the for purposes such as construction of road when the city is torn down. (Masdar Carbon, 2010)
Achieving the Reality
According to some skeptics reducing total carbon contents and footprints to zero would not be easily possible. They also say that Masdar will not cover the huge amount of guzzling gas of the United Arab Emirates. Khaled Awad, person in charge for making the plans into a real city say he has heard such people but is sure of its success. But he invited the suggestions on how to improve the City and what can be done. He also explained saying that they are serious about the city and its aspirations and are putting lots of resources to build it correctly and make it right. He expects it to be an ideal place at a meaningful scale. The intended plan is also to complete the Masdar City in a record time.
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The Masdar City project is being steered by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). It was started in 2006 and the project was estimated to cost about US$ 22 billion and expected to take about 8 years to complete construction. The first phase of building was scheduled to be completed and would be habitable by 2009. Due to the effect of the economic crisis, now the Phase 1 of the Masdar City would be finished by 2015 and the completion of whole complex by 2020-2025. The estimated cost of complex has been reduced by 10 to 15 percent, hence the complete development cost ranging from US$18.7 and 19.8 billion. Masdar city is projected to cover an area of six square kilometers (2.3 sq miles) and would provide residency to about 45,000 to 50,000 people and home to 1,500 businesses, majorly manufacturing and commercial facilities having expertise in the environment friendly and eco-friendly products, and an expected to have around 60,000 workers. It would also be having university, (MIST) Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which would be helped by (MIT) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Automobiles and vehicles would be prohibited within the city. Transportation would be carried out with the help of personal rapid transit and public mass transit systems with the already existing railways and roads providing connection to outside. As there are no vehicles and automobiles inside the Masdar’s perimeter wall, it is planned such as to prevent the hot desert air to enter the complex along with shaded and narrow streets allows suitable condition funnel cooler breezes across the Masdar City. (Palca, 2008)
Masdar City is thought to be the most advanced technology among the small number of well and highly planned, technology-intensive research specialized municipalities that also assimilate a living hospitable environment as those of Tsukuba Science City, Japan or Novosibirk, Russia. (Masdar Carbon, 2010)
Masdar Clean Tech Fund is a diversified vehicle of $250 million venture capital. It used to create a portfolio of joint venture investments, clean technology funds and direct co-investments. Others partners of Clean Tech Fund include Siemens Venture Capital, Credit Suisse and Consensus Business Group. CH2M HILL is the company responsible for constructing the first phase of the project. Construction of infrastructure of the city is being managed by Al Jaber Group. The central headquarters of Masdar City are being by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture. As pointed out earlier, the Fund is having commitments with the from the following organizations: (i) Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (“ADFEC”), (ii) Credit Suisse (“CS”), (iii) Consensus Business Group (“CBG”) and (iv) Siemens AG. (Masdar Introduction, 2010)
It is expected to develop a portfolio of investments in funds and having a commitment of around $60 million to 3-5 fund managers. Rest of the Fund capital would be invested in co-investments beside fund managers and in the direct investments by companies which are being sourced by the Fund. The Fund would invest in organizations that have technologies which are favorable for commercialization in U.A.E. Credit Suisse, one of the leading organizations for managers of co-investments and private equity fund of funds and also the General Partner’s will handle the Fund along with its partners. The Fund will take to advantage Credit Suisse’s and its partners’ expertise on investment along with Credit Suisse’s vast investment banking and private equity platform for sourcing, adding value and selecting investment opportunities in favors of the Fund. Moreover, the Fund will also take an initiative towards Abu Dhabi’s larger alternative energy resource, also known as the ‘Masdar initiative’ which was started in March 2006. The Masdar initiative is response of Abu Dhabi to the global requirement of conservation of diminishing resources and the need of alternative energy sectors. It is planned to make sure that in the long-term Abu Dhabi retains its energy resources and flourishes even more, and also maintains its share in the global energy market. The main focus of the Fund would be on the commercialization and development of technologies involving renewable energy, their energy efficiency, management of carbon and its monetization, desalination and usage of water. It is the hope of the government of U.A.E. that Masdar initiative and other governmental organizations should be used to support portfolio managers, joint venture participants and companies of Fund and participants who are wish for the commercialization of products in the UAE. (Masdar City, 2010)
Conclusion and Recommendation
Masdar City is going to deal with is to become the first city to manage waste in such a manner that waste is converted into energy and is possibly reduced to zero. In real facts, waste could be reduced to be very close to zero, as some material cannot be transformed to energy or be recycled. According to some skeptics reducing total carbon contents and footprints to zero would not be easily possible. It is very tough to estimate the overall carbon cost incurred on building the Masdar city as it will depend upon where you will draw you boundaries. Despite all the speculation being, it could be said that all these are worth a try so as to conserve the ecological system. It can be seen as a an innovative effort making development towards the commercialization and full functioning deployment of all possible renewable energy and providing solutions regarding cleaner ecological technologies. It combines the idea of the full renewable sources of energy with a clean technology lifecycle taking it from research point of view to the level of commercial deployment trying to fulfill the ultimate objective of developing a scalable and clean technology of renewable sources of energy. The key recommendation for the city is to create awareness among the people towards the waste and carbon issue so that the project can figure out as a classical example of green energy and waste management using technology.
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