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Masdar: a totally carbon neutral city in the middle of the desert?


Apparently so, according to the BBC.

The architects are turning the desert's greatest threat - the sun - into their greatest asset.

They have built the biggest solar farm in the Middle East to power the city and to offset the inevitable burning of diesel and baking of cement in construction.They are also experimenting. One project involves a circular field of mirrors on the ground, all reflecting towards a tower in the middle. That, in turn, bounces the light down in a concentrated beam about a metre (3ft) wide to produce heat and drive generators.

The entire thing seems to be funded by the oil-rich ruler of Abu Dhabi, an interesting benefactor to be sure. Could the Middle East (or the progressive UAE, at least), so rich with oil, be looking to experiment beyond oil? No matter the motives behind the project, it seems to be something to watch with promise and an impressive demonstration of modern sustainable energy technology.

Views: 24

Comment by Chelsea Howe on March 29, 2010 at 1:32am
Oooh - sweet find, Nathan! Very intriguing...
Comment by Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys on March 29, 2010 at 2:32am
On one hand I like that a city is moving away from fosil fuels INSIDE the city. I just wonder if a city that will need to import food from really far AWAY burnig fossil fules can really be carbon neutral. How much energy does it take to produce a solar panel and how much energy will it give in return? Some argue that currently solar panels have an energetic deficit. My hope is that places like Masdar will mass produce enough solar panels that their prices will go down and solar panels will finally produce an energetic surplus. What if carbon neutrality is not the only parameter we should be aiming to achieve? What about resilience, real sustainability and the ability to produce clean water and food that don´t need to be transported miles and miles away burning oil?
Comment by Nathaniel Fruchter on March 29, 2010 at 2:58am
I really like your thoughts about transporting food, an angle that I've never considered.
Comment by Patricio Buenrostro-Gilhuys on March 31, 2010 at 1:34am
Still we need projects like Masdar. We need all the approaches. Maybe all the energy Masdar will produce will be a key to solve the energetic cost of transporting food . . . who knows. Cool post!!!


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