How do we ensure safe and sustainable energy for all, while also reducing carbon emissions? This question will be on everyone’s lips in Kazakhstan this summer, as the public rubs shoulders with the scientific elite at the event of the year: EXPO 2017.
Future Energy is the theme of EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital city chosen to host this global event. The race is on for finding solutions for tackling humankind’s greatest challenge: energy solutions for the social, economic and environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. For three months from June to September, the best and brightest will gather in Astana to measure our progress.
The capital of Kazakhstan is proud to be hosting this major international exhibition, especially as EXPO 2017 is the first to take place in a country from the former Soviet Union. 115 countries will be represented at EXPO 2017, which will also be attended by 18 international organisations. Up to five million visitors are expected to make their way through the pavilions over three months this summer.
As EXPO 2017 is also a recreational event, members of the public will flock to Astana to peer into the future and enjoy a broad cultural programme. After a day of scientific discovery, visitors will find plenty to dazzle them also in the entertainment arena. Creative collaborations between Kazakhstan and international cultural figures will feature alongside performances from leading artists and entertainments from across the board, as tradition and innovation comes together to educate and impress.
The city of Astana has been busy at work preparing to host the Expo, since first being chosen for the honour by the International Exhibitions Bureau five years ago. This is a vital gathering: the presentations and conversations at the Expo are expected to form the foundations of global policy documents aimed at promoting the use of renewable energy sources and more energy-efficient lifestyles.
EXPO 2017 is ripe for exploration and discovery. The event spans a vast area of 174 hectare, although visitors may find themselves most impressed by the centrepiece - the Sphere. This stunning construction is the world’s largest spherical structure, measuring 80 metres in diametre across eight floors, showcasing innovation in space, solar, biomass, wind, water and kinetic energy.
The Kazakhstan Pavilion makes up the foundation of the Sphere. The first section of the Kazakhstan Pavilion is dedicated to the country’s history and culture, where hospitality and tolerance are traits that continue to run deep. The second half will showcase leading developments by the country’s scientists. Highlights from the eBPa (energy best practices area) pavilion include a new method for reliably managing the output of renewable energy grids, and an autonomous microgrid energy storage system designed to protect communities or commercial sites from power failures. The ascending levels of the Sphere will educate visitors on the prospects of different types of energy - space, sun, wind, water and kinetics - before culminating in a top floor exploration: Hope for the future.
The Astana EXPO 2017 is certainly a unique opportunity chance to get to know Kazakstan better, but the Expo also provides intriguing insights into countries from all over the world. The national pavilions of the participating countries will not only be an opportunity to explore the various geographies, but also a fascinating peek into cutting edge achievements in green energy from each country. There’s a lot to look forward to: a French startup presenting a way to generate light from marine microorganisms; a Hungarian bioconcrete that turns rain into the highest quality drinking water; an American technology that creates electricity from plant photosynthesis; and an innovative technique for electrifying entire communities in India using power from direct current solar grids.
Two themed pavilions are divided into a range of topics, including the earth’s renewable energy sources, smart cities, tech gardens, and future energy. Everything is tied together by Future Energy, the key theme of the Expo. This is broken into components such as the social economics of a new energy model, renewable technology solutions, universal access to sustainable energy, and power efficiency in the city. And of course, the design of the EXPO 2017 itself is based on the principles the showcase is here to promote, as it’s partially powered by solar, wind and geothermal energy. A smart grid system ensures energy losses during transport is reduced by up to 50%, while smart street lighting will further decrease energy consumption at the Expo.
The Expo tradition has deep roots in history. For over 160 years, Expos have been leading the way as humanity strives for scientific advancement through education, innovation and cooperation. Visitors to historical Expos have marvelled over inventions such as the telephone, the zipper, nylon, X-ray machines, ice cream cones, and touch screens.
EXPO 2017 in Astana is an International Specialised Expo, meaning it focuses more narrowly on a specific challenge faced by humanity - in this case Future Energy. International Specialised Expos were created to allow more countries to host and participate in the Expo tradition, and share in its intellectual ambition.
The earliest Expos were strongly influenced by the industrial revolution, placing technological progress at the centre. After the World Wars brought a renewed awareness of the importance of international collaboration, the Expos incorporated a message that technology must go hand in hand with the progress of humanity. Expos have again adjusted their mission since the turn of the millennium, now striving to bring a focus to the importance of sustainable developments as we face the unique challenges of our time.
Expos have been an important source of optimism, especially in times of geopolitical difficulties. The Expos remind us that we work better together, and we are all united in our desire for advancement. This summer, the spirit of cooperation will take centre stage yet again, as Astana carries on this proud tradition of inspiring the world at EXPO 2017.