The work has begun on the world's first zero-carbon city in UAE, which will be fueled by renewable energy.
According to a report in New Scientist, officials from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, have already touted plans for the 22 billion dollars development, known as the Masdar Initiative, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, US, on 5 May.
AdvertisementThe Abu Dhabi government has committed 4 billion dollars for the project and plans to raise another 18 billion dollars.
Groundbreaking construction for the densely packed 7-square-kilometre city on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi began in February.
The city will house an alternative energy research institute, as an investment in alternative energies that will eventually replace oil.
It will also house 50,000 residents and will include commercial buildings and light industry.
Solar power, in the form of photovoltaic panels, concentrated solar collectors, and solar thermal tubes will provide 82% of the city's energy needs.
An additional 17% of the city's power will come from burning composted food waste in a highly efficient method that developers say will emit greenhouse gases at a rate 10 times lower than if the food were allowed to decompose in a landfill.
The remaining 1% of the city's energy will come from wind turbines.
Smart urban planning that employs traditional designs, such as wind cooling towers and narrow streets aligned along a southwest by northeast axis to maximise shaded areas, will further reduce energy needs.
Buildings in the Masdar Initiative are projected to need less than half the energy for cooling and lighting that would be required for conventional buildings in the region.
Cars will be banned within Masdar. Instead, a light rail system running through the city centre will connect it to the rest of Adu Dhabi.
"Personal rapid transport pods" - small vehicles powered by the city's photovoltaic panels - will also operate within the city.
Many of the green building concepts going into Masdar, such as solar-powered desalinisation plants, have been attempted elsewhere, but the new development marks the first time they will be employed together on such a large scale.
"It's a new scale of sustainable development where we can take what we have learned with buildings and apply it to the city," said Gerard Evenden of Foster and Partners, the company that designed the city's layout.
According to Charles Cooney of MIT, who assisted in the planning of the city's research institute, "It's not just the buildings, it's how power generation, water management, transportation, and urban planning all come together."
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