Tech and Innovation

INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

Masdar City has created a rich technology and innovation ecosystem that drives sustainability and incubates climate change solutions. The Masdar City Free Zone is foundational to this ecosystem, but it also includes multi-nationals, educational and research institutions, and other businesses that are working to create a more sustainable future.

Key partners within our ecosystem include, but are not limited to, the following:

Our ecosystem is also home to The Catalyst, a joint venture between Masdar City and BP that supports innovative start-up companies that are focused on clean tech.

The Catalyst provides its companies with funding, office space, and access to a network of mentors to help them scale and unlock opportunities for global growth.

Current portfolio companies in The Catalyst:

DE L’ARTA

Sustainable skincare using native UAE flora.

SOLVA TECHNOLOGIES

The world’s first electric last-mile delivery platform.

SERAMIC MATERIALS

Using patented technology to upcycle industrial solid waste into sustainable ceramic products.

VOLTS BATTERY STORAGE

A smart battery management system that can power an entire home using renewable energy.

QS MONITOR

A smart food safety and traceability solution that uses its online platform to optimize food import licensing and certification.

CIRCA BIOTECH

Upcycling food waste into high-protein animal feed using larvae from black soldier flies.

INNOVATE FOR CLIMATE TECH

The Innovate program, introduced at ADSW in 2022 was a yearlong Masdar City initiative that provided participating small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) with a platform to nurture their sustainable innovations and opportunities to engage with potential investors. The companies were also provided with the opportunity to expand or move their operations to the Masdar City Free Zone.

Fast forward to 2023, and Innovate has evolved into a powerful program, under the name "Innovate for Climate Tech.” This evolution is aligned with the mission of The Climate Innovate Live coalition, which seeks to integrate the Global South into the climate tech revolution, fostering global collaboration and scaling impactful innovations to ensure a just and sustainable transition. Anchored by Masdar City, Tencent, and Catalyst, this initiative is facilitated by COP28, symbolizing the commitment of key players in the sustainability and innovation arena.

Click here to visit the Innovate for Climate Tech website.

TECH AND R&D HIGHLIGHTS

Masdar City is a testing site for numerous R&D initiatives and pilot projects that are driving more sustainable living.

Masdar City is in the process of rolling out real-time energy, water, and waste monitoring in all its buildings. Data will be fed to a new digital dashboard, which will give us a single viewpoint into all our building and transportation operations, offer deeper insight into building performance, and help us maximize and demonstrate our sustainability and efficiency.

Masdar City, in partnership with start-up investor Dana, hosts a 1,700 square meter “beta-site” to analyze the potential of early-stage agri-tech enterprises founded and piloted in the emirate. One of the beta-site's primary goals is promoting national food security solutions. It provides emerging local start-ups an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of their domestic agri-food solutions prior to market entry. The site began construction in July 2023.

The Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS), managed by Khalifa University and hosted at Masdar City, is a research facility designed to use organic materials, including algae, that don’t require fresh water to create sustainable aviation fuel. Fuel produced through the project has been used on Etihad flights. Honeywell, Boeing, General Electric, and Etihad have all collaborated on the project.

In 2017, Masdar City completed the Eco-Villa, the first net-zero energy building in the UAE, as a demonstration project. The 400-square meter Eco-Villa was the first to achieve a 4-Pearl rating under the Estidama Pearl Rating System. It was designed to use 72 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than a conventional villa of a comparable size in Abu Dhabi. Rooftop solar panels produce as much energy as the villa uses over a year.

This one-of-a-kind 100kW beam-down solar concentrator facility, managed by Khalifa University and hosted by Masdar City, provides local and international research institutes and solar and energy storage companies the opportunity to research, test, and validate new solar energy components and systems. While most concentrated solar power systems focus sunlight on a substance that is elevated into the air, this innovative system beams sunlight onto the ground, creating the potential for more efficient and cost-effective energy generation—particularly in hot, sunny climates like the UAE’s.

A Masdar City-based start-up, Zero Carbon, has developed a unique system to tackle the issue of methane emitted from landfills. They are capturing landfill gas before it is emitted into the atmosphere and repurposing it in graphene and hydrogen manufacturing facilities. Both of these materials are used to enhance the performance and sustainability of many common materials, including textiles, paint, and concrete, which in turn helps the construction industry build more sustainably.

Forty Guard, part of Masdar City’s Innovate program, is building a cloud-based AI tool to provide cities with access to enriched temperature insights by leveraging untapped existing data sources. They can accurately predict temperatures by understanding heat patterns and helping decision makers identify mitigation strategies and create construction materials that help reduce outdoor surface heat—which is a vital component of Masdar City’s master plan.

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