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  1. #1
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Abu Dhabi to build world's first zero-carbon city

    Construction work on the world's first zero-carbon city housing 50,000 people in a car-free environment will begin in the oil-rich Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi next month, the developers said on Monday.
    In Masdar City, which will be run entirely on renewable energy including solar power to exploit the desert emirate's near constant supply of sunshine, people will be able to move around in automated pods.

    "This is a place that has no carbon footprint and will not hurt the planet in any way," Khaled Awad, director of the Masdar project's property development unit of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), told AFP.

    "At the same time the city will offer the highest quality of life possible for its residents," he said on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    Once completed in 2013, residents will be able to move around the six-square-kilometre (2.4-square-mile) city using a light railway line and a series of automated transport pods.

    "They're like a horizontal elevator. You just say where you want to go, and it takes you there," Awad said of the pods.

    Unlike the gleaming towers of nearby Abu Dhabi, a model of the Foster and Partners-designed Masdar City displayed at the summit showed only low-rise buildings with solar panels on each roof.

    The city will be sited to take advantage of sea breezes, and a perimeter wall will protect it from the hot desert air and noise from the nearby Abu Dhabi airport.

    Abu Dhabi sits on most of the UAE's oil and gas reserves, ranked respectively as fifth and fourth in the world. Proven oil reserves on their own are expected to last for another 150 years.

    But like most oil-producing countries, the UAE also wants to diversify to ease its traditional economic dependency on oil.

    The zero-carbon city, part of the wider Masdar Initiative launched by the wealthy Abu Dhabi government in 2006, is also a flagship project of the global conservation group WWF.

    Masdar chief executive Sultan al-Jaber described Masdar -- Arabic for "source" -- as as an entirely new economic sector fully dedicated to alternative energy, which will have a positive impact on the emirate's economy.

    The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahayan, pledged 15 billion dollars to Masdar at the opening of the three-day summit on Monday.

    "Rest assured, the Masdar initiative and Abu Dhabi will continue to play its part" in developing alternative energy sources, Sheikh Mohammed told some 3,000 delegates gathered for the annual event.

    Masdar has also announced plans to build a 350-million-dollar 100-megawatt solar plant, which will later be boosted to 500 megawatts to help ease peak-time pressure on the national grid.

    The initiative is also founding a university for future energy studies in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Despite its constant access to sunshine, only parking meters in the UAE are currently powered by solar energy. Even solar water-heaters -- popular in several hot-climate countries -- are seldom seen.

    Other Gulf countries have a similar poor record in exploiting solar energy.


    Copyright AFP 2007, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten

  2. #2
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    The irony is in using profits from oil to build this zero-carbon city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel View Post
    Construction work on the world's first zero-carbon city housing 50,000 people in a car-free environment will begin in the oil-rich Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi next month, the developers said on Monday. ....
    I honestly don't mean to be prejuduced or anything,,,, -but most of the time when I hear of some spectacular new planned development in the UAE, I always think of Petra--a spectacular effort built at enormous cost, but one that was dependent upon a volatile economy, and that was ultimately unsustainable.

    Much of the stuff there is so extravagant, it bears the hallmarks of people with so much money falling out of their 4$$holes that they literally don't know what to do with it.
    ~

  4. #4
    yes
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    Sounds great to me. We won't do it, but the people that are getting rich off of our oil consumption will give it a go. It also looks to me like a more interesting investment than buying into citibank and merrill.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...2MA&refer=news

    Plus using yesterday's technology earnings to fund tomorrows is not really that ironic. It's smart.

  5. #5
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbubbles View Post
    The irony is in using profits from oil to build this zero-carbon city.
    I'm with you on that one, but there is always the hope that they could come up with some really useful, even revolutionary, way of achieving zero-carbon status. Of course, considering that most of the city was manufactured somewhere with materials that probably degraded the environment of the country of source, I would treat the claim spuriously.

    Still, this is an area of the world that gave the West mathematics, so don't under-rate their ability.

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    If this is a technology demonstration project and idea farm for low-energy technologies, then it likely is the smart thing for the UAE to be funding. In a world looking at an inevitable decline in oil production in the face of steady to rising demand for energy and a need to reduce carbon emissions, it is smart to be out in front of that development trend. Irony indeed, and very smart.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by yes View Post
    Sounds great to me. We won't do it, but the people that are getting rich off of our oil consumption will give it a go. It also looks to me like a more interesting investment than buying into citibank and merrill.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...2MA&refer=news

    Plus using yesterday's technology earnings to fund tomorrows is not really that ironic. It's smart.
    That's not the irony I'm implying, the irony is in using profits that causes pollution while attempting to build a non-polluting city.

  8. #8
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    Zero carbon does not equal sustainability, no modern city will ever be sustainable especially in the desert.

  9. #9
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    if anybody can make a whole solar-powered city, it's gonna be some rich country in the desert. I think it's great if oil-rich nations trying to fund renewable energy projects-- better than oil-poor countries like the USA trying to fund nonrenewable energy projects ("let's reduce our dependence on foreign oil by burning more coal!")
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

  10. #10
    Carefree boycey's Avatar
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    How about potable water; there's no fresh running water on the Arabian peninsula?. Are they going to put the diesel-burning, de-salination plant just outside the city limits, so that it doesn't affect their zero carbon figures?

  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    ok, so they have tanker loads of money.
    Isn't this a good thing? Let THEM pay for technology advances and
    let them pay for prototypes and make expensive mistakes and go
    over budget. Then we can learn from those very expensive mistakes
    and make 0-carbon communities cheaper and with more experience.

    The rest of the world has been doing that to the USA for decades.

    CE
    +1. It's like bicycle racing. Let rich sponsors pay for prototypes of new cycling technology that will someday trickle down to us transportation cyclists, and let the UAE pay for new energy technology that might end up benefiting the rest of the world.

    The price of coal is going up almost as fast as oil prices, so alternatives are looking better all the time. Alternative technology is very close to being a winner-- a few billion for R&D from OPEC countries might push it over the finish line.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  12. #12
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelung View Post
    Zero carbon does not equal sustainability, no modern city will ever be sustainable especially in the desert.
    No modern city, but maybe a post-modern one like this new city in the desert.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  13. #13
    Carefree boycey's Avatar
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    I lived and worked in Jeddah, a coastal city in Saudi Arabia, for seven years. Remembering all of the daily infrastructural problems that we suffered in a nominally 'modern' city, I'd have to say "I'll only beleive it when I see it".

  14. #14
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel View Post
    "This is a place that has no carbon footprint and will not hurt the planet in any way," Khaled Awad, director of the Masdar project's property development unit of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC), told AFP.
    This is fantastic but I wonder about the "not hurt the planet in anyway." Do they have a proper plan for environmentally-safe construction and disposal of waste from the construction? Do they have proper recycling and waste disposal plans for the residents? Water plan? What will the roads be made from? The homes/buildings? Insulation? Not hurting the planet means even thinking about what you're going to do with batteries. I think this is a great first step, a huge first step, but it's just that: a first step.

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