A project of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar city will be the largest carbon-free development of its kind in the world. The city, which will have residential and commercial buildings, a university, and facilities for research and light manufacturing, will be developed in phases. When it is finally completed in 2016, it will be inhabited by 90,000 people. A team of 500 planners, architects and engineers are looking for cutting-edge solutions to reduce the amount of energy used by occupants and residents at the six-square-kilometre development. Currently, Masdar buildings will require 70 per cent less energy compared to traditional structures. This means Masdar will require just 230MW of installed power, compared to the 800MW needed to supply a traditional city of the same size.
The city will also use several times less water than is now the norm in the UAE and aims to produce no waste whatsoever. This will be achieved by an ambitious recycling scheme, while the city will also burn some non-recycleable waste to produce a small share of its energy. Another way in which the city aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is through banning car use. People will be encouraged to walk or use the city's driverless personalised rapid transit system, which will consist of electric, driverless vehicles, each carrying between four to six passengers, to various locations around the city. In its initial phase, set for completion in 2009, the system, which will move along specially-designed guideways on the ground level, will consists of 18 vehicles. When the whole development is completed, there will be 2,000 to 3,000 electric vehicles stopping at 85 different stations within the development.
Besides striving to provide a model for carbon-free living, the US$22 (Dh80.96) billion project, being built in phases at a site close to Abu Dhabi International Airport, will act as a hub for clean technology research and manufacturing. The concept is the Abu Dhabi government's response to climate change, a phenomenum caused by the burning of fossil fuel to produce energy and power vehicles.