World Cup host, Qatar wants to be a model with air-conditioned stadiums

Photo: Agence France-Presse

Al Janoub Stadium, located in Al Wakrah, will host the World Cup matches

For many, Qatar is synonymous with extreme heat, but spectators at the 2022 World Cup may feel a little chilly in stadiums equipped with the latest climate control systems which, according to its creator, will be the “norm” of the future.

Saud Abdulaziz Abdulghani has worked for 13 years to develop this technology, which he believes is “the most sustainable possible” and should protect players from injuries, help maintain the quality of the grass and reduce or reduce body odors in the stands.

Temperatures in Qatar can reach 50 degrees in summer. This was one of the reasons why the selection of the country to host the World Cup, announced by the International Football Association Board in 2010, caused controversy. That is why the tournament will take place between November and December.

Although the weather will be milder by the end of the year, seven of the eight stadiums that will host World Cup matches will be air-conditioned.

Air-conditioned stadiums are nothing new, but the system Ghani developed is “40% more sustainable than current technologies,” according to global regulators.

The professor, who is from Sudan and has an academic background in the UK, believes that “in the future, for the safety of the players, air-conditioned stadiums will become the norm,” especially given the 2024 World Cup and the countries he should play in the tournament to be hosted by Mexico, the United States and Canada.

in the open back

But is the idea really relevant from an environmental point of view? The specialist advocates air conditioning in stadiums with solar panels and with “the best thermal insulation and the best sensors to use the correct doses of energy in each area so that excesses are not adhered to”.

“There is no reason not to have air conditioning in the studios when there is heating in the other studios,” confirms Pierre Ferret, architect of the modern Pierre Morey Stadium, in Lille, France.

“It also depends on how the air conditioning works,” Ferrett explains. “If it’s done with gas or oil, it’s not the best. PV panels are better.”

“I have no doubt the technology is working,” says Russell Somore, president of Basis, the British Federation for Sustainable Sport.

Seymour is more concerned with the “message conveyed” about air conditioning in an open environment, when energy savings are essential.

“In offices, for example, people often like to open the windows to freshen the air, but without turning off the air conditioning,” he recalls.

For the World Cup, every stadium is different and so is its climate. In the stands for 40,000 spectators at Al Janoub Stadium, which will host seven matches, Professor Ghani describes the system.

Also for malls

The flat shape of the structure prevents wind from entering and allows the formation of a bubble of cooled air at about 21 degrees, dehumidified and purified, through small ventilation holes placed under the seats, as well as large openings placed next to the field of play. the match.

This air “creates a layer about two meters high above the terraces, which goes down and cuts the grass and returns to the terraces,” the engineer explained.

“Then, a portion of the cold air is drawn in, purified, and cooled again (by coming into contact with very cold water that circulates through a closed tube, like a car’s radiator system) and then sent” to the stands and into the field. , using adjustable intensity in each area according to its exposure to the sun, for example.

In this way, Al Janoub Stadium does not need to be refrigerated until two hours before the match in order to be fully air-conditioned.

Ghani is calling on experts to check his green promises and says the technology has not been patented, making it usable for free around the world, not just in sports arenas.

The system was also used in an open-air shopping mall in Doha and also on a farm in Qatar.


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