Is it possible to have an entire city be carbon and waste free? The Masdar Initiative is undertaking just that. The initiative is “a global cooperative platform for open engagement in the search for solutions to some of mankind’s most pressing issues: energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development.”
Located in Abu Dhabi, Masdaris interested in being a developmental nucleus and for new energy technologies through world-class research. Masdar desires to use the large amount of resources they have at their disposal to elicit the commercialization of this into sustainable energy, carbon management and water utilization. Rather than Abu Dhabi consuming energy, Masdar wants the city to produce it.
Masdar means “the source,” and this name is fitting to what the Initiative hopes to accomplish. The Initiative hopes to be the source of the research and industry that ranks Abu Dhabi as global leaders in clean energy and sustainable development. Through the Masdar Institute and the Masdar Research Network, acceleration of the innovations and commercial development of the promising technologies are being realized. The current research includes: “photovoltaic (crystalline, thin film and low cost polysilicon); water management (desalination, membrane technologies); solar thermal carbon management (carbon capture and storage).” The natural resources that Abu Dhabi has available have enabled the city to be the ideal place for such a movement to get started.
There is a specific Carbon Management Unit that is exclusively focused on developing CO2 emission reduction projects. They realize the adverse affect that these emissions have on the climate, sustainable human development, human health, food security, and the economy, and seek to find ways to combat these negative implications. This Unit is focused on advancing CO2 capture and storage for enhanced oil recovery.
The Masdar Initiative has four primary objectives:
1. To help drive the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi
2. To maintain, and later expand, Abu Dhabi’s position in evolving global energy markets
3. To position the country as a developer of technology, and not simply an importer
4. To make a meaningful contribution towards sustainable human development
This sustainability is made possible through the Innovation & Investment Unit. “The main aim of I&I is to attract relevant technologies and assist companies to commercialize their applications.” To do this, the Innovation & Investment Unit has categorized three strategic areas:
1. The Masdar Clean Tech Fund: This is a $250 million private equity fund that acquires equity stakes in global companies that have promising technologies in clean energy, water and environmental solutions.
2. The Sustainable Technologies and Advanced Research (STAR) program: This program invests in technologies suitable for demonstration-level projects. These projects are focused on solar power, photovoltaic, sea water desalination and biofuels.
3. The Masdar Business Incubator: This area assists startup companies and entrepreneurs in order to nurture them into commercially viable businesses.