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Industry reports, briefs and video-clips issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Masdar City, the Green City

Masdar City, the Green City

DO Gun-Woo

May 14, 2009


Welcome to our video program. I'm Gun-Woo Do from the Public Policy Research Department.

What do Germany's Freiburg, Brazil's Curitiba, and Sweden's Vaxjo have in common? As some of you may already know, these cities are famous for pursuing innovation in environmental business through reduced dependence on fossil fuels and increased use of renewable energy. But there is an even more ambitious city on the horizon. Masdar, in the United Arab Emirates hopes to be a zero-carbon, zero-waste, and car-free city. Today we will take a close look at Masdar's environmentally-friendly construction technology.

Masdar is located in the desert of the Arabian peninsula, about 30 Km away from Abu Dhabi. The city is 6 square kilometers in area. Abu Dhabi is attempting to make a US$22 billion investment to turn Masdar into an environmentally-friendly city by 2016. This city will be home to 1,500 green technology companies and 50,000 residents. Let's find out more about this city.

First, Masdar will rely almost entirely on renewable energy like solar energy and wind power. This city's energy consumption is as low as 20% of that of other cities of similar size.

The city will set up wind turbines in every building for two purposes. The main role of these wind turbines is to generate electricity while the other role is to cool down the temperature inside the buildings. Hot winds from the Persian Gulf will be used not only for generating electricity but also used for natural air conditioning. Hot winds will be diverted through long tunnels underground, where cool water reserves take the heat of the winds, and turn them into cool air. This cool air will be sent back to the building to lower the temperature of the rooms.

Similarly, solar panels installed on the roof will serve two roles. They will act as insulation for the building from sunlight in addition to acting as a source of power.

Masdar will sustain itself without using fossil fuels. Possible electricity shortages will be solved by installing hydrogen power plants. The city will be free from greenhouse gas without fossil fuel plants.

Second, Masdar will be waste-free. Unavoidable organic waste will be collected separately to be recycled and used as compost. Sewage will be recycled into fuel. Rainwater will also be collected and reserved underground. This reserved rain water will be used to cool down the temperature of buildings and nurture green fields.

Third, the whole city will be built on a raised platform, to leave the space below utilized for fully-automated electric transportation. Since the city allows no cars, people must use magnetic levitation propulsion trains and electric-powered buses for transport. For short distances, Masdar recommends the use of segways, two-wheeled, self-balancing electric powered vehicles.

Though the construction of Masdar has barely begun, many countries are already eager to benchmark the city because of the business opportunities demonstrated there. Currently, 41 global companies' solar collectors are being tested at construction sites in Masdar. After these tests, the most effective solar energy collector plate will be selected and used for the construction of Masdar. In addition, the government of the United Arab Emirates is luring more green technology companies into Masdar by providing tax benefits. Led by GE's Ecomagination center, many green technology companies will settle in Masdar city.

The construction of Masdar provides many business opportunities, including green IT technology, environmentally-friendly construction materials, and water treatment technology. Masdar merits continuing attention in the future for those seeking business opportunities.

Thank you for watching. I'm Gun-Woo Do.

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