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IDTechEx: Saudi Arabia’s NEOM sets an example for pollutant-free smart cities

IDTechEx: Saudi Arabia's NEOM sets an example for pollutant-free smart cities

IDTechEx, a technology market research firm headquartered in Cambridge, UK with affiliates in Japan, Germany and the USA, said Saudi Arabia’s giga-city NEOM sets an example for pollutant-free smart cities.

This came in a recent report issued by the firm analyzing smart city trends up to 2042.

The report answered a number of questions; Including: How do smart cities adapt to constantly evolving systems and technologies? And how might it look in the future? How will you benefit from these technologies?

In particular, the report indicates that societies benefit from hydrogen, renewable electricity, smart materials, and transportation. The report estimated that the value of advanced technological devices for smart cities will reach $1.7 trillion by 2042.

An example provided by the report was the city of NEOM in Saudi Arabia, which is developing a carbon-neutral city, which will extend over 105 miles and be powered by 100% clean energy.

NEOM also has plans to establish a manufacturing center based on clean and sustainable energy, mainly using hydrogen. A 2-GW electrolysis plant for green hydrogen is currently in the works.

The IDTechEx report says hydrogen and electricity will make up 21% of the technology needed for smart cities by 2042.

Hydrogen will also play a role in energy storage, which is expected to increase in the coming years; To help add reliability to electricity grids, especially during times of the year when wind and solar power may not be reliable, the report says.

IDTechEx indicated that technologies will continue to develop in areas such as batteries; whereas lithium-ion batteries can be replaced with eco-friendly and affordable sodium-ion batteries.

The report emphasized that smart materials, which will make up 23% of new technology, go to building more efficient buildings as well as processing more sustainable materials for products such as cement.

Furthermore, IDTechEx said that automated public transportation, including air and sea travel, and a completely electric vehicle infrastructure are other elements that can help smart cities to achieve carbon neutrality, according to the report.

NEOM is one of the major projects that the Kingdom included in the Saudi 2030 Vision, along with several other destinations and attractions such as the Red Sea Project, Amalaa, Qiddiya, and AlUla.

In January 2021, the Saudi Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM revealed the 170km belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature.

He described it as an answer to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion.

The city is expected to create 380,000 jobs, adding SAR 180 billion ($48 billion) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

In November 2021, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started construction work on its eco-friendly futuristic desert city “The Line.” Once completed, the city will be free of cars and roads and be powered by 100% clean energy, with residents expected to move in as early as 2024.

Currently, work has started, with bulldozers and diggers working day and night moving earth and tunneling through mountains to install the linear city’s three layers: a surface region for pedestrians, plus two subterranean layers for transport and infrastructure.

The cognitive city will be run through its own operating system dubbed Neos, Bradley told ZDNet in an interview. Neos would gather and process data from internet-of-thing (IoT) devices, and the residents’ unique IDs and several other devices across the city, acting as the city’s core.

Through that system, the city would be able to protect residents in several ways, such as alerting emergency services in case of medical emergencies, making it a proactive city.

The city which will be powered by 100% clean energy, would feature ultra-high-speed transit and autonomous mobility solutions will make travel easier. It promises future residents that no journey will be longer than 20 minutes.

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