This photo may look like something on the planet of Tatooine out of the Star Wars’ movie saga, but it is actually a rendering of what the city of Masdar may look like here on Earth. Masdar is a concept city that some obscenely rich Arab oil Sheiks are planning to build just outside of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The plan is to create and maintain the worlds first 0 carbon city. That is, once the building is finished. Its impossible for these guys to build the city without the use of fossil fuels, but it seems to be a step in the right direction for now. Once the city is online no cars will be allowed (++), and according to the plans any vehicles will have to park in a climate controlled car park on the Al Reem island near by. I wonder if the city officials will have special parking for non polluting vehicles like camels and horses.
The parent company in charge of this creation is Mubadda Development Corp. They have a significant world presence ranging from oil to holding a sizable chuck of Cargill Corp. which is an U.S. based company. The city will truly be an international city by taking the best museums from around the world and creating not just sister museums, but the largest of them. Located within the city will be a Louvre designed by Frenchman Jean Nouvel. This branch of the famous french museum will be a whopping 24k sq. meters featuring natural sunlight throughout the building.
Jean Nouvel’s vision for the new Louvre
Not to be out done by the Frenchman, Frank Ghery is planning to create the world’s largest Guggenheim museum in the city.
The new museum will be based on the design for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, but will be much larger and more technologically advanced than the one in Bilbao. The new museum is slated to be finished by 2012. Its body will be wrapped in titanium just like the other buildings that Ghery has done in recent years and, will prove to be a real work of art itself I’m sure.
No city would be complete without a full on Maritime museum built by Tadao Ando.
The museum features a reflective coating, ship-like decking inside, aquarium, and a grand reception hall. All of these features will combine to blend the museum in to the seaside surrounding and emulate the natural landscape of Masdar.
Enough of all this fluff. Its time to get to the nitty gritty about how this city intends to accomplish its goals of zero waste. The city plans to power itself with a gigantic 300 megawatt photovoltaic array built by Solyndra of California. This co. claims to be producing cells that are 40% more efficient than the most efficient cells offered today. In addition to the PV array, wind farms will be erected to harness the winds from this seaside city. These same winds will cool the city by being channeled through the heart of the city in between wind towers and the closely placed buildings. Most of the construction materials will be local hopefully, but that remains to be seen. Other American companies will prosper from the $250 million invested in clean tech. Companies like New Hampshire based Segway (Segways will be used as transport within the car-less city) and Pennsylvania based Enertech (makers of ceramic batteries).
Water for the city will come from a solar powered desalination plant and the city’s landscaping will come from reclaimed grey water.
Whats really interesting is the plans for a 500 MW hydrogen plant with BP and Rio Tinto teaming up.
Id like to hear about how they plan to feed all the people of the city and what they plan to do with all the trash. That remains to be seen.
So it seems as if the city is a bit of a prototype for the future. Multinationals working hand in hand to develop and implement new clean technologies. MIT is even starting a school of technology in Masdar with a former president of the University of Delaware at the helm. Lets hope that this new trend will truly benefit the world as a whole and not just become a green facelift for the oil rich of the globe. Obviously the dirty energy from oil cannot carry us into the future and the Emirates wants a jump start on the new clean energy market. Companies like GE and the people behind Masdar are only thinking of how to make the transition from dirty to green while green is the new black.
72 story Tameer tower