Technology as a Tool to Achieve Sustainability: Examples from Abu Dhabi

Technology plays a big role in our lives. The easiest way to promote sustainability on an environment is through education. By environmentally educating ourselves on what sustainable alternatives we have available in our daily lives, like building materials, food, clothes and common household items, we can make better choices for ourselves and for future generations to come. Teach your friends the sustainable habits like recycling, and really look at what is a “want” and what is a “need.”

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs as well. The key goal of green technology is to replace practices and methods that damage or deplete natural resources with alternative practices that are sustainable and efficient.

Generate electricity by walking

Many government entities and companies in Abu Dhabi are using technology to maintain environment sustainability. And one such example is the interactive walkway at Abu Dhabi Airport. This converts the energy from travellers’ footsteps into electricity. The walkway connects two terminals within the airport and it is of 16 sq.m. which was put by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and UK based company Pavegen. Masdar is an incubator of sustainable technologies. It is also keen to help UAE deliver on its sustainability targets, including more eco-friendly mobility solutions.

An approximate 8,000 travellers per day will be crossing the walkway between terminals 1 and 3 of the airport. The system has screens that highlights how much energy is being generated with a special game interface for children. It depicts the amount of energy generated with airplanes rising and descending.

As we walk on the walkway, electromagnetic generators produce electricity which is used to power local LED lighting and to provide a data feed. Airports are a key destination as millions of visitors may this walkway for energy and data generation using the latest technology.

Eco-Bus in Abu Dhabi

The first fully electric passenger bus is launched by Masdar in partnership with DoT (Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi). It was designed taking into account that the eco-bus must withstand the heat and humidity of the UAE climate which is one of the key performance challenge for electric vehicles. It has a seating capacity of 30 passengers and a range of 150 km per battery charge.

An eco-bus is powered using solar panels. Extensive tests were conducted by DoT to check the vehicle technical performance during the pilot phase. Many such smart initiatives are aimed at enhancing intelligent transportation system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) System

Picture a driverless car that you summon with a button which then takes you to any destination you like within a city. That’s the idea behind this system of 4 passenger electric vehicles which glide around on magnetically guided routes beneath the fossil-fuel-free city in Abu Dhabi.

The driverless vehicles are controlled by an advanced navigation system that uses magnets embedded in the corridor to know their position while onboard sensors detect any obstacles in their path. They are powered by a battery that recharges while the pods are standing in the stations between trips. The Masdar City PRT system benefits from dynamic safety features, resulting in zero accidents or collisions since launch.

Since the inception in 2010, the PRT system has ferried more than two million passengers between the city’s North Car Park and the Masdar Institute, part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

To sum up, Masdar City is at the forefront of sustainable mobility innovation and such expansions will aid in the large scale sustainable transportation system using the latest technologies.

Sainath Maniknandan

Sainath Manikandan is a student of Grade 5 at GEMS United Indian School (Abu Dhabi). He is a dedicated environmentalist, innovator and campaigner, and strives for a clean and green Planet Earth

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