Masdar City & its Mistakes

If one flies over the desert of Abu Dhabi, out of nowhere there appears a huge, geometrical shaped complex with many buildings.

Why Masdar Failed

The city was supposed to be a model for high-tech, carbon-neutral cities powered off green energy, but instead the city has become a ghost town.

Masdar City – the US $ 22 billion project was started in 2006 and was supposed to be completed in 8 yrs (by 2014). The plan was to use solar energy for 70% of the power generation of the city.  Today the project has already been… delayed and the completion if EVER has been pushed back to 2030 which will make it about a record 15 years behind schedule. Today only a small portion (marked in green) of the project (spade like in red outline) has been completed.

The Masdar Institute has been behind the engineering plans of Masdar City and is at the center of research and development activities. The institute’s building uses 51% less electricity and 54% less than traditional buildings in the UAE, and is fitted with a metering system that constantly observes power consumption.

The only silver lining of the dark cloud is that the cost of the solar panels plummeted unexpectedly during these years reducing the overall cost of the project by US$ 4million. Thus the project today costs only US $18 billion. This might be the only project which got cheaper after a delay of 15 years. The project could get even cheaper over the next decade as various technologies in renewable sector become cheaper and more efficient.

The electric transport pods that were supposed to replace cars in Masdar City are now only going to be used in certain parts of the city, and Masdar PV fired both their CEO and COO. Then, to top off the floundering debacle, the head of MIST, Tariq Ali, resigned after only 1 year.

Prior considers Sultan Al-Jaber’s recent press – in which he is adamant that these are not insurmountable setbacks – as desperate efforts to hold on, to instruct the band to keep playing while the ship sinks.

Given that John Perkins, the provost of the Masdar Institute, also resigned, and that the company that would have provided silicon equipment, Sun Fab, folded its operations, it seems that Prior may be right.

The mistakes of Masdar.

Looking back… we should learn from the mistakes of Masdar which can be summarized as under:

  1. NOT SUSTAINABLE: Masdar City was incorporated with the idea of making it as a sustainable city. But the cost of the design and construction of the city was so high that the very existence of the project came in jeopardy! So… IF EVER such a city has to be built… the cost HAS TO BE KEPT LOW and all buildings should be single storied. The construction of these buildings should be horizontal and not vertical tower-like… which would require more steel, heavy reinforced concrete, etc and increase the cost of construction. Buildings should be designed like villas or rowhouses. There is no doubt that the entire complex has been built very, very beautifully but the fact is such a city being replicated not only all over the world but even in UAE is impossible. UAE can NEVER replicate this project. It was designed as the Taj Mahal of UAE… its neither sustainable nor replicat-able.
  1. The focus of the Project was mostly on solar and not much importance was given to Wind Energy although UAE has some of the flattest geography and wind is predominant so much so that even a slight wind can be overpowering. This is one of the reasons that people in Middle-East NEVER carry umbrella… never during rains, never during hot summer. The wind will turn all umbrellas inside out.
  1. Dust storms & clean-ablity: The almost weekly (Wednesday-Thursday-Friday) dust storms of the GCC have the tendency to cover the panels with dust and reduce their productivity. Thus Wind energy should have been given equal importance as much as solar. Moreover they have installed so many solar panels but are these panels easily cleanable? Will it be cleaned by wipers on the panels? By automated machines? Or by labor? If by labor how quick can each panel be cleaned? Surely these were questions that were never raised during design.
  1. Are they using Biogas from the garbage and sewage waste from the settlement from and around the city? There is not any mention about Biogas which could have been used to generate electricity and cooking gas.
  1. They have mentioned usage of Mitsubishi’s expensive US$ 22,900 MIEV electric car but never bothered to use the much more economical Mahindra E2O which cost US$ 8,800. What about electric-cycles and electric-rickshaws… were they even considered?
  1. Did the lush greenery around the complex have fruit giving trees…the seeds of which can bear further fruits… or where they just going to plant show trees which have no fruits and the fruits would be such that they cannot grow into future trees because they are hi-breed or genetically modified. This is neither sustainable nor replicate-able.

Thus we at PlugInCaroo believe that Masdar as a sustainable venture as failed and it is better that people learn from it and do not try to copy it. Those designers who went to Egypt and Muscat to learn the traditional method of cooling and house design forgot that the forefathers kept the technology simple and economical which the Designers forgot to implement.

Back home one Mr Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had designed a sustainable house…  perhaps that could have been studied further for any future sustainable construction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If one flies over the desert of Abu Dhabi, out of nowhere there appears a huge, geometrical shaped complex with many buildings.

The city was supposed to be a model for high-tech, carbon-neutral cities powered off green energy, but instead the city has become a ghost town.

Masdar City – the US $ 22 billion project was started in 2006 and was supposed to be completed in 8 yrs (by 2014). The plan was to use solar energy for 70% of the power generation of the city.  Today the project has already been delayed and the completion if EVER has been pushed back to 2030 which will make it about a record 15 years behind schedule. Today only a small portion (marked in green) of the project (spade like in red outline) has been completed.

The Masdar Institute has been behind the engineering plans of Masdar City and is at the center of research and development activities. The institute’s building uses 51% less electricity and 54% less than traditional buildings in the UAE, and is fitted with a metering system that constantly observes power consumption.

The only silver lining of the dark cloud is that the cost of the solar panels plummeted unexpectedly during these years reducing the overall cost of the project by US$ 4million. Thus the project today costs only US $18 billion. This might be the only project which got cheaper after a delay of 15 years. The project could get even cheaper over the next decade as various technologies in renewable sector become cheaper and more efficient.

The electric transport pods that were supposed to replace cars in Masdar City are now only going to be used in certain parts of the city, and Masdar PV fired both their CEO and COO. Then, to top off the floundering debacle, the head of MIST, Tariq Ali, resigned after only 1 year.

Prior considers Sultan Al-Jaber’s recent press – in which he is adamant that these are not insurmountable setbacks – as desperate efforts to hold on, to instruct the band to keep playing while the ship sinks.

Given that John Perkins, the provost of the Masdar Institute, also resigned, and that the company that would have provided silicon equipment, Sun Fab, folded its operations, it seems that Prior may be right.

 

The mistakes of Masdar.

Looking back we should learn from the mistakes of Masdar.

  1. NOT SUSTAINABLE: Masdar City was incorporated with the idea of making it as a sustainable city. But the cost of the design and construction of the city was so high that the very existence of the project came in jeopardy! So… IF EVER such a city has to be built… the cost HAS TO BE KEPT LOW and all buildings should be single storied. The construction of these buildings should be horizontal and not vertical tower-like… which would require more steel, heavy reinforced concrete, etc and increase the cost of construction. Buildings should be designed like villas or rowhouses. There is no doubt that the entire complex has been built very, very beautifully but the fact is such a city being replicated not only all over the world but even in UAE is impossible. UAE can NEVER replicate this project. It is the Taj Mahal of UAE… its neither sustainable nor replicat-able.

 

  1. The focus of the Project was mostly on solar and not much importance was given to Wind Energy although UAE has some of the flattest geography and wind is predominant so much so that even a slight wind can be overpowering. This is one of the reasons that people in Middle-East NEVER carry umbrella… never during rains, never during hot summer. The wind will turn all umbrellas inside out.

 

  1. Dust storms & clean-ablity: The almost weekly (Wednesday-Thursday-Friday) dust storms of the GCC have the tendency to cover the panels with dust and reduce their productivity. Thus Wind energy should have been given equal importance as much as solar. Moreover they have installed so many solar panels but are these panels easily cleanable? Will it be cleaned by wipers on the panels? By automated machines? Or by labor? If by labor how quick can each panel be cleaned? Surely these were questions that were never raised during design.

 

  1. Are they using Biogas from the garbage and sewage waste from the settlement from and around the city? There is not any mention about Biogas which could have been used to generate electricity and cooking gas.

 

  1. They have mentioned usage of Mitsubishi’s expensive US$ 22,900 MIEV electric car but never bothered to use the much more economical Mahindra E2O which cost US$ 8,800. What about electric-cycles and electric-rickshaws… were they even considered?

 

  1. Did the lush greenery around the complex have fruit giving trees…the seeds of which can bear further fruits… or where they just going to plant show trees which have no fruits and the fruits would be such that they cannot grow into future trees because they are hi-breed or genetically modified. This is neither sustainable nor replicate-able.

Thus we at PlugInCaroo believe that Masdar as a sustainable venture as failed and it is better that people learn from it and do not try to copy it. Those designers who went to Egypt and Muscat to learn the traditional method of cooling and house design forgot that the forefathers kept the technology simple and economical which the Designers forgot to implement.

Back home one Mr Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had designed a sustainable house…  perhaps that could have been studied further for any future sustainable construction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If one flies over the desert of Abu Dhabi, out of nowhere there appears a huge, geometrical shaped complex with many buildings.

The city was supposed to be a model for high-tech, carbon-neutral cities powered off green energy, but instead the city has become a ghost town.

Masdar City – the US $ 22 billion project was started in 2006 and was supposed to be completed in 8 yrs (by 2014). The plan was to use solar energy for 70% of the power generation of the city.  Today the project has already been delayed and the completion if EVER has been pushed back to 2030 which will make it about a record 15 years behind schedule. Today only a small portion (marked in green) of the project (spade like in red outline) has been completed.

The Masdar Institute has been behind the engineering plans of Masdar City and is at the center of research and development activities. The institute’s building uses 51% less electricity and 54% less than traditional buildings in the UAE, and is fitted with a metering system that constantly observes power consumption.

The only silver lining of the dark cloud is that the cost of the solar panels plummeted unexpectedly during these years reducing the overall cost of the project by US$ 4million. Thus the project today costs only US $18 billion. This might be the only project which got cheaper after a delay of 15 years. The project could get even cheaper over the next decade as various technologies in renewable sector become cheaper and more efficient.

The electric transport pods that were supposed to replace cars in Masdar City are now only going to be used in certain parts of the city, and Masdar PV fired both their CEO and COO. Then, to top off the floundering debacle, the head of MIST, Tariq Ali, resigned after only 1 year.

Prior considers Sultan Al-Jaber’s recent press – in which he is adamant that these are not insurmountable setbacks – as desperate efforts to hold on, to instruct the band to keep playing while the ship sinks.

Given that John Perkins, the provost of the Masdar Institute, also resigned, and that the company that would have provided silicon equipment, Sun Fab, folded its operations, it seems that Prior may be right.

 

The mistakes of Masdar.

Looking back we should learn from the mistakes of Masdar.

  1. NOT SUSTAINABLE: Masdar City was incorporated with the idea of making it as a sustainable city. But the cost of the design and construction of the city was so high that the very existence of the project came in jeopardy! So… IF EVER such a city has to be built… the cost HAS TO BE KEPT LOW and all buildings should be single storied. The construction of these buildings should be horizontal and not vertical tower-like… which would require more steel, heavy reinforced concrete, etc and increase the cost of construction. Buildings should be designed like villas or rowhouses. There is no doubt that the entire complex has been built very, very beautifully but the fact is such a city being replicated not only all over the world but even in UAE is impossible. UAE can NEVER replicate this project. It is the Taj Mahal of UAE… its neither sustainable nor replicat-able.

 

  1. The focus of the Project was mostly on solar and not much importance was given to Wind Energy although UAE has some of the flattest geography and wind is predominant so much so that even a slight wind can be overpowering. This is one of the reasons that people in Middle-East NEVER carry umbrella… never during rains, never during hot summer. The wind will turn all umbrellas inside out.

 

  1. Dust storms & clean-ablity: The almost weekly (Wednesday-Thursday-Friday) dust storms of the GCC have the tendency to cover the panels with dust and reduce their productivity. Thus Wind energy should have been given equal importance as much as solar. Moreover they have installed so many solar panels but are these panels easily cleanable? Will it be cleaned by wipers on the panels? By automated machines? Or by labor? If by labor how quick can each panel be cleaned? Surely these were questions that were never raised during design.

 

  1. Are they using Biogas from the garbage and sewage waste from the settlement from and around the city? There is not any mention about Biogas which could have been used to generate electricity and cooking gas.

 

  1. They have mentioned usage of Mitsubishi’s expensive US$ 22,900 MIEV electric car but never bothered to use the much more economical Mahindra E2O which cost US$ 8,800. What about electric-cycles and electric-rickshaws… were they even considered?

 

  1. Did the lush greenery around the complex have fruit giving trees…the seeds of which can bear further fruits… or where they just going to plant show trees which have no fruits and the fruits would be such that they cannot grow into future trees because they are hi-breed or genetically modified. This is neither sustainable nor replicate-able.

Thus we at PlugInCaroo believe that Masdar as a sustainable venture as failed and it is better that people learn from it and do not try to copy it. Those designers who went to Egypt and Muscat to learn the traditional method of cooling and house design forgot that the forefathers kept the technology simple and economical which the Designers forgot to implement.

Back home one Mr Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had designed a sustainable house…  perhaps that could have been studied further for any future sustainable construction.

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