Masdar: A Green City (Bloomberg Brink 05/13)

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May 13 (Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates – a country enriched by its massive oil reserves – is looking to position itself as a leader in a post-petroleum world. So they’ve built Masdar City, a low-carbon, zero-waste urban center that could sustain a 40,000 person population, 1,500 clean tech businesses, and 50,000 commuters -- while using 20% of the power of a conventional city of a smaller size. The centerpiece of the project is the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a post-graduate university established in partnership with MIT that aims to be a hotbed for future innovation. (Source: Bloomberg)

We are finding it, we are testing it, we are there as they build it.

We are on a quest to show you the most cutting-edge companies on the brink of the future.

Tonight, we dedicate the entire episode to a brand-new city, built green from the ground up.

Right in the heart of the most oil-rich region in the world.

Atlas energy more than us?

We will take you inside masdar, a multibillion-dollar experiment the future of energy.

300 foot all fields.

-- football fields.

"bloomberg brink." companies that break the mold, conventions, boundaries.

And the future of technology, design, and industry.

Captioned by the national captioning institute [captioning made possible by bloomberg television] we often sit here and talk about innovative companies, innovative people.

You have done something extraordinary.

You have gone to see an entire city advocated to innovation.

Went to abu dhabi to masdar city.

They are trying to create the greenest city in the world.

Abu dhabi, big oil-producing place.

But you also said greenest city in the world.

What does abu dhabi care about being green?

They do sit on some of the world largest oil reserves.

They are trying to think more broadly about energynow.

Masdar is their first step in that direction.

Masdar is a strategic, comprehensive approach to clean energy.

Seriously and a meaningful way tribute to that.

We believe that this is a logical step for a major oil- producing nation.

Who loves energy more than us?

We are trying to a home for an new energy.

We are about to get to masdar, the world's biggest spearmint in sustainability.

It is supposed to be all of masdar city.

It is in the middle of the desert.

This is architectural eye candy.

There has never been a single attempt by anybody in the whole world to do anything as ambitious as this.

This is definitely superlative.

We go big, we do not do things small.

When abu dhabi does something, we go all in.

We are in a very hot, uncomfortable place.

How did people adapt before air- conditioning?

One of the things we do is try to blend architecture as well as maintaining the sustainability.

Everything here has a purpose.

These doors are designed to direct wind into the courtyard area at the tiles are cool not matter how hot it is outside.

Careers of the building are designed -- exteriors of the building are designed to maximize shade.

Things can be done in a very harsh climate to significantly reduce the amount of energy we are using and the outdoors more often.

About 10-12 degrees cooler inside the city than outside area and you definitely feel that.

So, this land here generates all of the power for masdar city?

That and more.

This is a 10 megawatt plant.

It is installed and operational back in april 2009. at that time none of the city was built.

We connected with the grid and have been providing clean energy to abu dhabi since then.

Is also powering on the construction?

It is all powered by this and rooftop solar on the buildings themselves.

30% of the power.

That is about 11-12 megawatts.

We are very much energy positive.

Can you tell me about this pilot program?


This is one of over 100 pilot projects we have been working on the last 5-6 years.

It is looking at solar chilling.

Here we are benchmarking three defense systems.

Mirror system, panel system, and another system.

Taking the energy from the sun to generate warmth runs the chiller in the background.

This is been operational and going some of the offices in the background.

Trying to diversify the technologies you are developing, not just in the region but around globe.


You're not looking for just this application for the backyard.

We want to make sure there is a market cap and masdar and its network can accelerate through that gap.

We position ourselves as a commercial accelerator.

If we can prove it out with our partners and get a year earlier to market, that is a huge value.

This is not even our largest business unit.

We do global renewable energy.

We have global capital funds.

The largest csp plant in any term you can think of.

Power or size.

We are producing a full 100 megawatts.

This is the next ordinary moment for us.

Today this is the first massive footstep that has been taken on renewable energy in this region.

It is 300 football fields put together.

Of solar panels.

How do you feel today?

With this being unveiled to the world?

A big achievement.

We are at the tipping point in terms of how people think about energy for the future.

Worldwide, but especially in the mideast.

It does not make economic sense anymore for them to use their own fossil fuel reserves domestically.

The cost of generating electricity is basically the cost of a barrel of oil.

Using it to generate cheap electricity at home is $90 of opportunity cost that is lost.

If you replace that with renewable energy, it already makes economic sense without doing anything more.

Fuel for jet planes, trucks, cars.

I will grant you that masdar looks like it is chock-full of innovation.

I feel like i have seen this house of tomorrow stuff before.

How does it not just to come the epcot center of the 21st- century?

I was skeptical, too.

But after i spent time there, it is really not a showpiece.

They are in all of this groundbreaking, green research.

Even the labs themselves are sustainable.

Is a proven model all over the world.

Start with establishing a research hub.

Always around your ability to adapt things, technology, and people.

One of the core ideas of masdar institute, we are building programs where people collaborate in group efforts.

That is the core.

It is not about the facilities.

It is about the people in the programs.

A lot of people have a misconception about science.

They think it is a crazy guy in a garage with a you rica -- eureka moment.

What type -- tends to happen, it is one small aspect of the world but they try to understand completely.

Then they communicated to the people around them.

Those people find links to what they are working on.

Before you know, it gains momentum in a certain direction and push the ball further down the road.

Masdar institute is designed to make that collaboration and alignment have an faster than a typical university.

What is all this green stuff behind you?

This is algae.

All this algae, you have found in the middle of the desert?

We have.

The algae from the desert we are really interested in fuels.

We want to grow it in large entities.

The market is huge.

The market now , jet plane fuel, one of the most expensive commodities out there.

We are trying to do, look at what conditions it grows the best.

It grows better in some than others.

We could almost train them to do what we want to, just by changing the conditions.

Those conditions are the carbon dioxide?

Limited carbon dioxide, temperature.

People that want to go into industry are very interested.

What is the advantage of being here in masdar?

The big part, what is exciting to me, is being in the desert areas to conditions in the desert are such that the things that live out here are very strong.

This is probably one of the coolest places in the world to look for things like that.

If an organism can live under these conditions, they can pretty much live anywhere.

You said it uses co2 to grow.

What are the environmental invitations?

We have an economy -- the idea is that the co2 [indiscernible] we are kind of killing two birds with one stone.

Nanotechnology is simply a way of thinking about how you're going to build something or how something works.

This is the first time a facility like this has been done in the middle east.

What you will notice as look different colors.

That is because the butterflies have different colors on their wings.

That is not because it is different colors.

It is because they have little spikes on their wings.

The distance they are a part is what makes the color.

Butterflies use nanotechnology.

How much does it cost to make some and this?

$40 million.

All the equipment to achieve that.

You have to have the kitchen even to make a peanut butter sandwich.

This is only part of what is actually required to make the operation work.

As is the flashy part area this is flashy?

In the back we have the support equipment.

We spend more money on the behind the scenes stuff to make the equipment worked.

The start of this process, admitted list of the chemicals and wanted to use.

About a third of them had ever been in the country before as a developing country, they never developed a policy for how it needed to be disposed of.

We probably could have gotten away dumping some of this stuff down the drain.

What we wanted to do was provide an example or a template of how a facility like this should we set up.

We have a huge amount of electricity coming into that room.

If we were trying to get all that feed out of the room with air conditioning, there would be a gale force wind there.

What we do is pump cold water through all of the tools to take the heat away.

A whole special system here, pumping processed, chilled water through the tools.

The system right here uses a solid catalyst, it has chemicals on the outside.

When we pump certain molecules in, they react and they stay there.

It turns into a fan.

That does not react anymore.

We can just throw it away in a landfill and it will not react with anything else or poisoned groundwater.

When we have vapors and solvent vapors, rather than pumping those and the atmosphere, we blow the air through and the droplets capture the vapors and then they come down into a tank in the bottom.

We pump and other chemistry to neutralize that.

Very sophisticated system.

It is.

You start to realize, this is much larger and more elaborate . you are really developing technology that everybody in the future will hopefully be relying on.

Probably up with debbie will be profiting from that.

There is always an aspect of business, that you can make money or you can do business right.

Masdar is a commercial venture, but it is not just about making money.

It is also about doing good things.

I didn't even do anything and it is moving.

You don't need to drive it areas.

We have seen some interesting research and some cool things.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a functioning city.

And it is built up there will be tens of thousands of people living there.

And thousands of people.

How do you move them them around in a sustainable way jacko?

Even the transportation reflects their spirit.

They are creating the personal rapid transit system.

These are driverless cars.

It is the most futuristic transportation system i have ever seen.

You can't drive into the city.

You have to park in the outskirts and then take the prt in.

The whole idea is to have the city be carless.

Parking my car.

Like the average masdar citizen.

This is not your average terminal.

In new york, our subway is not as clean and beautiful.

How are they powered gekko?

We charge in the stations.

That is a charge dead.

We can drive without charging.

-- a charge bed.

We can drive without charging for four hours.

You can get some information.

I did not do anything and it is moving.

You don't need to drive it.

All of the city is above us?

All the transportation is underneath.

What is the most unique element of this system?

Our system is free ranging.

It is writing between concrete walls.

Every two meters we have a magnet in the floor.

You have a whole grid with magnets.

You got all the magnets in a database.

What is the reaction you normally get jacko?

It is an attraction.

It is a weird experience having no driver.

We are here.

We are here.

All right.

A quick ride.

Are only two stations at the moment.

In the future, who knows?

We are hoping for more stations.

Correct the original plan was there for to be -- for there to be read thousand trt -- 3000 prts.

They started with a very big plan and then the crisis went over the whole world.

We don't know the future of the prt is.

This is the land.

What this bill to now is just this part.

The vision is and the first thing that was cut was the trt system.

How does that make you feel?

I think it is a big mistake.

There are new office buildings , a big institute.

All of this people need transportation.

From the beginning, no cars allowed.

So -- what is left?

Do you think masdar city is pulling back on their vision of being sustainable by pulling back on the prt system?

Something has changed.

The economic slowdown that place on the whole world did impact the progress of masdar city.

We cannot do it alone.

We will not do it a loan.

It was never the objective to do it alone.

Build a city all at once , the idea for us was, let us take a little time to look at the experience we had over the first five years.

It was really a startup model.

Go fast, fail fast.

That works.

We learned so much from that.

We learned what the gaps in the market timing where.

We were much more knowledgeable in phase two.

What we are looking at behind us, that is our first commercial the thing that will be the siemens headquarters.

It is currently the most sustainable building in abu dhabi.

Heavy figure reflects to choose masdar -- how do you think it reflects to choose masdar city?

I think it reflects well.

They are doing the medium voltage electricity network.

They can do simulations of how they can reduce demand.

Siemens is coming here because they see it as a testbed.

What is unique about the building?

There are a lot of lessons from building masdar city.

What design elements make it unique?

The side is west facing.

At the end of the day, these shading devices are designed to block out the direct sunlight, and yet maintain a view out.

And office area that does not have contact and natural lighting has very little value.

It is pretty cool in here.

This is the natural, ambient temperature.

The shading devices are doing a good job at the moment.

A very good job.

Master city is really -- masdar city is really focused on this idea.

That is the late you of an energy efficient building.

Once you optimize the path of nature for the building, it is just a question of using the minimum amount of energy.

What is going to be out here?

Each of these plots are designated for various residential and commercial use.

What you think the misconceptions of masdar are?

The misconception that it is a showcase.

Some kind of nice gift somebody is trying to present to the world.

This is really a living lab.

It would be unfair to look at any of these projects around the world in a cookie-cutter fashion.

If you're going to go into that, you have to manage risk along the way.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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