Business In Masdar City
Masdar City is an emerging worldwide Clean Technology cluster located in what strives to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments’s powered by renewable energy. This US$22 billion unique economic zone in Abu Dhabi seeks to become a global centre for innovation, research, product development and light manufacturing in the fields of renewable energy and environmental technologies.
The six-square-kilometre city will be home to leading multinational companies in the clean- tech sector, in addition to small and medium-sized corporations and entrepreneurial start-ups. The city will be anchored by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology – a PhD-level, research institution developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and focused entirely on education and research in alternative energy and sustainability.
The university had its first intake of students in September 2009. Ninety-nine of the world’s top science and engineering students and Masdar Institute Fellows commenced classes in the inaugural year, educated by 22 leading academics hailing from ten countries. The university is set to grow from this pioneering group to 600-800 MSc and PhD students and 100-150 faculty by 2015.
By bringing together intellectual and financial assets from academia and the public and private sectors, Masdar City will create a dynamic international community concentrated on an industry poised for enormous worldwide growth.
Masdar City provides a unique setting for companies, institutes and organisations working across a wide spectrum of activities in the clean- tech sector, from research and light production to ancillary service providers. Companies will base R&D labs, worldwide headquarters and regional sales offices in the city. General Electric, one of many anchor partners, will build, in cooperation with Masdar City, its first Ecomagination Centre, a facility that will focus on promoting sustainable business solutions that will support the development and deployment of new and revolutionary technologies. Masdar City will also host the secretariat of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) – an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to promoting the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy – bringing to the City the latest in policymaking and global best practices.
In light of its climate and location, Masdar City will focus on enticing organizations and pursuing research in four primary areas of the cleantech industry: solar, green building, water, and power storage, and secondarily in the areas of smart grids, efficiency appliances, electric vehicles and waste.
A particular benefit for Masdar City and unique selling point is that it has been built to be a first-of-a-kind test bed for the large-scale trials and deployment of early-stage technologies and practices under study and development inside the city. Two factors make it particularly appealing in this regard. First, its dedication to being one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments means it is a natural testing ground. Second, Masdar City is being master planned on a modular basis, precisely so that it is possible to incorporate emerging technologies into the infrastructure and structures of each new phase, without affecting, or being restricted by, technologies embedded in previous development.
As a result, Masdar City (‘Masdar’ means ‘source’ in Arabic) will become one of the world’s most significant sources of knowledge and innovation in the cleantech sector and provide a functioning blueprint for sustainable living around the world.
The world’s most advanced city also uses the world’s most advanced transportation procedure, eliminating the requirement for fossil fuel-powered vehicles at street level.
Masdar City is currently piloting the use of the Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) and Freight Rapid Transport (FRT) systems in the Masdar Institute neighbourhood of the City, which forms part of faze one of Masdar City. The electric-powered automated vehicles, each with a single cabin featuring large windows and seating for four adults, will travel at speeds up to 40km/h and take passengers to any station at the touch of a button. The Freight Rapid Transport will eliminate the need for trucks and vans, and will enable the delivery and removal of all manner of goods and waste. The system will run in an under croft below street level that ultimately will have passenger stations and freight stations.
On top of that, Abu Dhabi city’s light rail line will go through the centre of Masdar City, providing transport within the city and serving as a link to the wider metropolitan area.
Masdar City, as one of the first large-scale city projects of its kind in the world, is leading the way in smart urban planning. From the orientation on which the city grid and its streets are built to the elimination of cars and trucks from city streets, planners are incorporating the latest research in the field.
The intelligent design of domestic and commercial spaces will reduce demand for artificial lighting and air conditioning. All buildings will surpass the highest sustainable building standards currently set by internationally recognised organisations. The northeast-southwest orientation of the city makes great use of the cooling night breezes and lessens the effect of hot daytime winds, while reducing the results of direct sunshine. The elimination of fossil fuel-powered vehicles and trucks from the street level not only makes the air cleaner for pedestrians but additionally allows buildings to be closer together, providing more shade.
Locating in Masdar City offers countless benefits to cleantech companies and organisations, and ancillary service providers. These advantages include potential access to capital, a critical mass of sector knowledge, a large pool of high-quality talent, and access to local, regional and international markets.
Masdar investment funds will be making select investments in clean technology companies, while cleantech venture capital firms being drawn to the city will be another source of potential capital. The massive number of research entities, companies and non-governmental organisations that will operate from the city will generate opportunities for knowledge sharing, while the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology will provide technical support and collaboration possibilities to help commercialise and deploy new technologies. The institute will also produce a steady stream of MSc and PhD graduates, while professionals from around the world will be drawn to Masdar City – thereby ensuring a highly skilled talent pool.
Masdar City itself represents a major market and customer for cleantech products and solutions, while also offering companies a unique opportunity to test emerging technologies in the building of the city.
What’s more, countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, as well as those in the surrounding region, offer large and growing markets for cleantech solutions, driven by strong economic and demographic growth and increasingly supportive regulatory environments and government-level policy commitments to sustainability goals.
Special Economic Zone
Masdar City offers all the benefits one would associate with a Special Economic Zone, though with a unique focus on clean technology and renewable energy, and in a business friendly and entrepreneurial environment that offers:
1. Quick and easy set-up with a one-stop shop for registration, government relations and visa processing
2. 100% foreign ownership
3. Zero percent import tariffs
4. Zero percent taxes on companies and individuals
5. No restrictions on capital movements or profits