HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces visit to Masdar

20 October 2011
His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, yesterday visited Masdar, Abu Dhabi's initiative for developing and deploying renewable energy and clean technology solutions. During the visit, His Highness toured Masdar City and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology where he was briefed on the progress in Masdar's projects and on-going research and development (R&D) activities at Masdar Institute.


UAE has always held a strong position in the global energy market, thanks to its rich oil and gas resources. However, the growing global demand for renewable energy, sustainable development of human capital and the urgent requirement for mitigating the effects of climate change due to harmful greenhouse gas emissions prompted the UAE government's investment arm, Mubadala, to establish Masdar.

Set up in 2006, Masdar -- Abu Dhabi's progressive renewable energy company -- implements a holistic approach to promote the development of renewable energy through its various integrated units. In keeping with the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 -- that aims to build a sustainable knowledge based economy and drive diversification away from oil -- Masdar promotes R&D of human capital, invests funds in clean tech companies across the world and builds and develops utility scale renewable energy power projects. Masdar also specializes in carbon capture and storage projects in Abu Dhabi and develops energy efficiency and clean fossil fuel projects that significantly reduce carbon emissions and prologs the life of existing fossil fuel resources.

Zayed Future Energy Prize

Started in 2008 and aimed at finding solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment, the Zayed Future Energy Prize (ZFEP) managed by Masdar represents the vision of the Late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan. The annual award celebrates achievements that impact innovation, long-term vision and leadership initiatives in renewable energy and sustainability. Since its establishment, each year the prize has seen a significant rise in participation and the prize value has now grown to $4 million. Masdar aims to continue educating and inspiring future leaders and innovators through this and other initiatives.

World Future Energy Summit

The annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is testament to the UAE's ongoing efforts to build bridges with like-minded nations to address the world's greatest challenges, such as ensuring energy security, climate change mitigation, and sustainable human development. Every year since 2008, the summit has served as a platform for political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to come together and find solutions to the growing need for sustainable energy. The summit also serves as a business opportunity as it brings together project owners and solution providers with investors and buyers from both the public and private sectors.

Personal Rapid Transport

To achieve sustainability and carbon neutrality objectives, Masdar was designed as a pedestrian focused community that promotes limited use of personal cars by commuters and visitors to Masdar City. The Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system - the electric-powered, driverless, single-cabin vehicles - currently being used on a pilot project basis in Masdar City may later be extended to run across the city based on the reports of the pilot test. Controlled by an advanced navigation system, these vehicles offer the privacy, comfort and non-stop travel of a taxi service. The system uses magnets embedded in the corridor to know the position of the PRT and onboard sensors detect any obstacles in their path; a wireless connection keeps them linked to the central computer, which guides them on their journey and ensures smooth operation among all vehicles. The batteries get recharged while vehicles stop at stations between trips.

Clean rooms

A clean room is one in which the air is highly filtered to keep out impurities. Such controlled environments are typically required in manufacturing or scientific research, for example in chip fabrication or manufacture of hard disks and high precision parts for electronic and aerospace equipment, where environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors have to be controlled. The air entering a cleanroom from outside is filtered to exclude dust, and the air inside is constantly recirculated through air filters to remove internally generated contaminants.

Masdar Institute's micro-fabrication laboratory includes a 300-sq meter cleanroom facility (class 1000/100) that hosts state-of-the-art equipment installed by Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On completion of its second phase, Masdar Institute will have two cleanrooms to support its nano-fabrication research and other studies on novel nano-electronic and photonic devices.

Both cleanrooms are expected to strengthen Masdar Institute's nanofabrication capabilities for nanoelectronics and nanophotonics, while fostering specific skills of students in the semiconductor industry. This will also contribute to strengthening Abu Dhabi's knowledge capital and high-technology industry, particularly in the semiconductor industry.

Electron-Beam Lithography System

Masdar Institute, in collaboration with ATIC, has installed an electron-beam lithography (EBL) system, a tool primarily used for research and fabrication of novel nanotechnology devices that can shape the future of integrated circuits. The new device writes structures of about 10nm in size - which is around 10,000 times smaller than the average width of a strand of human hair, and is used for fabricating nanotechnology devices such as nanophotonics, nanoelectronics, and nanofluidics.

The technology has been applied to the fabrication of various devices, including patterned magnetic disks, optical devices, nano-bio devices, microfluidics, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and transistors.

Water Treatment with Sulfated Cellulose

This Masdar Institute project investigates the use of sulfated cellulose as a novel means for desalination of seawater.  If the project proves to be a success, it could be used as a first stage for seawater desalination, which would potentially reduce the cost and energy consumption for water production in UAE. The process utilizes a plentiful and biodegradable material to remove Ca and Mg ions from seawater or wastewater. The project's findings may potentially result in a patent and technology that could be licensed for commercialization in the future.

Carbon Capture and Storage through Mineralization of Dolomite

This Masdar Institute project will study the biological and chemical processes used by natural organisms to create Dolomite from CO2, with the potential of harnessing this for industrial carbon capture and storage.

The identified catalytic process could potentially lead to a biologically engineered process for carbon capture and storage. The project will lead to novel scholarly contributions in understanding Dolomite bio-mineralization. 

Red Tide Detection with MODIS Satellite 

Researchers at Masdar Institute are developing a satellite-based model to detect and monitor red tide outbreaks in the Arabian Gulf. The project involves early red tide detection and warning tool to provide real time monitoring of red tides in the Arabian Gulf using remote sensing from satellites.

The UAE tourism industry as well as fishery industry will be the main beneficiaries of the research. The red-tide detection tool is based on monitoring water color, water temperature, and water chlorophyll concentration. It produces a map that clearly shows the spatial extent of red tide areas. Red tide maps could also be used to protect the intakes of desalination plants in the UAE coastal areas. The tool has so far successfully detected, delineated and classified red-tide outbreaks in the Arabian Gulf.

Real-time Dust Monitoring over the UAE with Meteosat Satellite

This project uses satellite data to monitor the concentration of dust in the environment. The outcome will be an improved solar resource assessment and potential real-time information to enable better performance and management of the electricity resources relying on solar energy. Solar resources assessment -- based on more accurate dust information -- may impact renewable energy policy and investments as well as future decision making on building solar plants.

Solar Energy Research

Solar research and technology development, one of the major research projects being undertaken at Masdar Institute, aim at finding the most efficient ways of capturing solar energy and developing systems to convert captured energy to useful purposes. Solar energy can be converted to useful work or heat by using a collector to absorb solar radiation, allowing much of the sun's radiant energy to be converted to heat. This heat can be used directly in residential, industrial, and agricultural operations; converted to mechanical or electrical power; or applied in chemical reactions for production of fuels and chemicals.

Professors and researchers at Masdar Institute are hoping to tackle the specific challenges of developing solar energy into a major electricity and heat provider. In particular, they are working on the unique challenges that the UAE faces in capitalizing on this ready source of fuel and trying to develop the best systems and technologies to harvest, store and disseminate solar energy in the UAE.

10 MW

The 10MW solar photovoltaic farm, a Masdar project in the UAE, is the largest grid-connected solar plant in the Middle East. The farm produces 17,500MWh of clean electricity annually, thereby offsetting 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. This is equivalent to taking 3,300 cars off Abu Dhabi's roads every year. The farm has 87,777 polycrystalline and thin-film modules on a 22-hectare site at the outer boundary of Masdar City. The 10MW plant is a net exporter of energy, meaning that the plant produces more energy than Masdar currently uses. The rest is fed into Abu Dhabi grid.


Gemasolar is the first commercial plant in the world to use molten salt storage in a central tower configuration with a heliostat field. Recently inaugurated by His Majesty the King of Spain Juan Carlos I and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces in Fuentes Andalucia, Spain, the 19.9 MW CSP plant generates electricity even at night.

Double-Effect Absorption Cooling Plant  

The double-effect absorption cooling plant, a Masdar initiative currently in its testing phase, uses heat to activate a chemical process that provides chilled water for cooling. The sun's energy is transferred to the water via two main technologies -- SOPOGY parabolic trough collector and Fresnel linear collector. The plant demonstrates that high-temperature solar thermal cooling is more cost effective and requires a smaller collector footprint compared to a conventional electric chiller plant powered by solar-generated electricity. The system provides sustainable cooling to 1700m2 of office space using advanced air-conditioning and delivery equipment from Swegon, such as active chilled beams and an air handling unit that achieves 75% energy recovery.


© Press Release 2011

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