Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship sustainable urban development, is today home to more than 900 organizations – ranging from international giants to home-grown start-ups – that are developing innovative technologies in the areas of energy, space and artificial intelligence to address the world's most critical sustainability challenges.
This month, the UAE made history as the first Arab nation – and one of just five in the world – to send a spacecraft into Mars’ orbit. Fittingly, this milestone achievement coincided with the UAE’s Innovation Month, highlighting the tremendous progress made under the UAE Vision 2021 to drive innovation in the country. The Hope Probe is more than just a symbol however – the environmental data it will gather from Mars will help us to better understand climate change here on Earth.
Today, the UAE Space Agency is just one of more than 900 organizations – from international companies to home-grown start-ups – that have established operations in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship sustainable urban development. Established in 2008, Masdar City today is a leading hub for innovation, research and development in the region, advancing real-world solutions in energy and water efficiency, mobility, artificial intelligence, and other areas. The City offers a strategic base through which companies can build their networks locally and globally, explore multiple investment opportunities and test innovative new technologies from inception through to implementation.
The transformative work of these companies is supported by the dedicated cluster of entities, within Masdar City’s Free Zone, that are committed to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs, disruptors, and technology leaders as they advance the sustainability agenda and spearhead innovations to realize more sustainable urban living for the global community.
Here are a few of the innovation driven companies in Masdar City that are addressing some of the world's most critical sustainability challenges.
1- G42 Healthcare - Artificial intelligence and cloud computing
Group 42 (G42) is a leading artificial intelligence and cloud computing company dedicated to the development and implementation of holistic and scalable technology solutions. G42 Healthcare recently launched its Omics Centre of Excellence which is the latest addition to its long list of initiatives and will become home to a series of Omics projects such as the Emirati Genome Program that will explore the genetic makeup of Emiratis, using cutting-edge DNA sequencing and artificial intelligence technologies to generate the highest quality and most comprehensive genomic data.
2- Azelio – Energy Storage Innovation
Azelio is a Swedish company working to change the future of solar energy. Harnessing the sun’s thermal energy and efficiently storing it for timely conversion to electricity, Azelio aims to offer countless industries and communities across the world, a new and more sustainable outlook. Already a leading supplier of Stirling engine-based renewable energy solutions, Azelio now puts an even greater focus on distributed and dispatchable solar electricity.
3- The Catalyst - Region’s first clean technology startup accelerator
The Catalyst is the region’s first clean technology startup accelerator based in Masdar City. Supported by Masdar and energy giant BP, The Catalyst supports innovative start-ups that are one to three years away from commercialization, through funding, training, one-on-one mentorship, and access to the support of the award-winning Masdar City Free Zone and the state-of-the-art research facilities.
4- The Mohamad bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence - MBZUAI
The world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university, the Mohamad bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence welcomed its first students in January 2021 and offers a purpose-built, high-tech and eco-friendly campus, which includes smart classrooms and research laboratories, an AI-specialised knowledge centre and recreational facilities. All programmes are taught by a distinguished faculty of subject experts from around the world.
5- De L’Arta- An outdoor living laboratory
De L’Arta seeks to regenerate, recover and up-cycle natural resources through the creation of a circular economy. De L’Arta has lunched the outdoor living laboratory where it produces key ingredients for skincare sustainably using the desert’s resources. De L’Arta has also launched its first soil regeneration program that converts coffee waste into compost to target soil problems that limit farming in arid regions. More specifically, transforming waste into food security solutions.
6- Saint-Gobain - Optimizing the human experience within the built environment
The Saint-Gobain Group mobilizes its companies’ expertise and provides a range of solutions for buildings that are comfortable, more energy efficient and more pleasant to live in every day. Its high-performance materials are also found in industrial and consumer markets, such as the automotive, aeronautical, health and energy industries.
In partnership with Masdar City, Saint-Gobain is currently developing its first Multi Comfort House in the Middle East at Masdar City. The house is one of 30 similar projects around the world and the first in a hot region. When completed, the house will demonstrate Saint-Gobain’s patented technology aimed at improving health and well-being by optimizing the human experience within the built environment.
7- Seramic Materials – Producing ceramics and building materials from industrial waste
Masdar City based start-up, Seramic Materials, is applying patented technology, to up-cycle industrial solid waste into sustainable high-value ceramic products, with a significant reduction in cost and carbon footprints, as compared to conventional ceramics. Locally manufacturing 100% recycled value-added ceramic products, their construction materials have equivalent properties to conventional products, but at a lower cost.
8- UAE Space Agency - Developing the national space sector
Based in Masdar City, the UAE Space Agency, is a general federal authority, dedicated to organizing and developing the national space sector in a way that contributes to supporting a sustainable national economy, and develops and supports research and development projects in the space sector. The UAE Space Agency also works to enhance and highlight the state's role on the space map regionally and globally and establishes a culture of innovation in the institutional work environment.
9- HydroArtPod By Aline Pate - The smart garden
With the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the importance of the global food chain, the HydroArtPod by Aline Pate is a start-up based in Masdar City that allows people to easily grow their own super-fresh, vitamin-rich, organic vegetables in an ‘indoor garden’ structure that also looks like a piece of art. Targeted initially at the home consumer market, this product is being developed in the UAE.
10- Volts Battery Storage - In-house smart battery management system
Volts produces an in-house smart battery management system for managing and monitoring consumption within the home. The system is based on Volts software with mobile application and is designed to power an entire house when aligned with a renewable energy source. Using an intelligent system of control and monitoring the electrical consumption of the unit, Volts analyzes the owner's behavioral patterns based on user and power analysis. As a result, Volts defines a storage policy, allowing users to make the load schedule, while maintaining the battery charge at a sufficient level for a specified period. Volts to be utilized for different needs. Volts can charge both from the conventional grid and solar panels, making it possible to create its own autonomous electricity supply in the house.
Also based in Masdar City are organisations including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Siemens, Siemens Energy, Tabreed, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Safe Cities, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar is advancing the commercialization and deployment of renewable energy, sustainable urban development and clean technologies to address global sustainability challenges. Wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Company, the strategic investment company of the Government of Abu Dhabi, our mandate is to help maintain the UAE’s leadership in the global energy sector, while supporting the diversification of both its economy and energy sources for the benefit of future generations. Today, Masdar is active in more than 30 countries, including the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, the US, Australia, Spain, Serbia, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and many more.
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