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Masdar City in Abu Dhabi to lay claim to greenest city

A model of Masdar City--a zero-waste, zero-emissions city--will be shown on Monday. The plan includes banning cars.

The cleanest city in the entire world will take root next month in Abu Dhabi, a place best known for its oil.

At the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, a model of Masdar City is scheduled to be unveiled on Monday. The three-day conference is hosted by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co.'s Masdar Initiative, which is investing in a range of ventures, including clean-tech start-ups.

An artist's rendering of the overall plan of Masdar City. A model will be unveiled Monday. Masdar

In February, Masdar (which means "the source" in Arabic) will break ground on the six-square-kilometer city that its backers say will be the first zero-pollution, zero-waste city. The city will be capable of housing 47,500 people, who are scheduled to start moving there in 2009. Construction is expected to take 10 years.

The vision of the city, designed by Foster and Partners, is to be a model for sustainable architecture.

A solar-photovoltaic power plant will deliver energy to buildings. Builders also envision using solar canopies that provide shade, as well as power.

A vision of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Foster and Partners

The city will be placed to take advantage of the cool sea breezes, while a perimeter wall around the entire city will protect buildings from the hot desert air and noise from the nearby Abu Dhabi airport.

No cars will be allowed in the city. People will get around through an electric light-rail system that will be linked to the center of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

A desalination facility will be 80 percent more efficient than existing plants, and all wastewater will be purified and recycled to grow plants that could be used for biofuels.

Masdar City will be the home of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which backers hope will attract some of the best academics from the around the world. Also envisioned are research and development facilities from multinational companies and start-ups in the clean technology area.