For many, Qatar is synonymous with scorching heat, but spectators at the 2022 World Cup may feel a little chilled in stadiums equipped with state-of-the-art climate control systems that, according to its creator, would be “ideal”. Future.
Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani has worked for 13 years to develop the technology, which he believes is “the most sustainable possible” and should protect players from injuries, helping to maintain the quality of the turf. and should eliminate or reduce body odor in the stands.
In summer, the temperature in Qatar can reach 50 degrees. This was one of the reasons why the country’s choice to host the World Cup announced by FIFA in 2010 caused controversy. Hence the tournament will be held between November to December.
Although the weather will be mild towards the end of the year, seven of the eight stadiums that have hosted World Cup matches are air-conditioned.
According to world organisers, air-conditioned stadiums are not new, but the system developed by Ghani is “40% more sustainable than existing technologies”.
The professor, originally from Sudan and with an academic background in the United Kingdom, believes that, “in the future, for the safety of players, air-conditioned stadiums will become the norm”, especially in the 2024 World Cup and Looking at countries. Must play in the tournament, which will be hosted by Mexico, the United States and Canada.
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But is this idea really relevant from an ecological point of view? The stadiums’ air conditioning is powered by solar panels and has “the best thermal insulation and the best sensors to use the right dose of energy in each area, so overdosing is not committed”, defends the expert.
Pierre Ferret, the architect of the modern Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille, France, insisted, “There is no reason for a studio not to have air-conditioning when there is heating in others”.
“It also depends on how the air conditioning is done. If it’s done with gas or oil, it’s best not to. Photovoltaic panels are better,” Ferrett explains.
“I have no doubt that the technology works,” says Russell Seymour, head of Basis, the British Association for Sustainable Sport.
Seymour is more concerned with the “message aware” of air conditioning in open environments, at a time when energy savings are needed.
“In offices, for example, people often want to open the windows to renew the air, but without turning off the air conditioning”, he recalls.
Every stadium is different for the World Cup and its atmosphere is also different. Standing for 40,000 spectators at Al Janub Stadium, which will host seven games, Professor Ghani describes the system.
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The flat shape of the construction prevents the ingress of air and allows the formation of cold air bubbles at approximately 21 degrees, through the small ventilation openings located under the seats, as well as through the larger ones placed next to the grounds. Is. Of the game match.
This wind “forms a layer of about two meters at the top of the stand, which travels down, crosses the lawn and travels back to the stand”, the engineer details.
“Then, a portion of the cold air is withdrawn, purified and re-cooled (in contact with very cold water, which circulates through a closed pipe like a car radiator system) and Then” is sent to the stand and field. , with, for example, a variable intensity in each region according to the exposure to the sun.
That way, Al Janoub Stadium doesn’t need to be chilled until two hours before the game to be fully air-conditioned.
Ghani invited experts to verify his green promises, saying the technology is not patented, which makes it usable for free around the world, not just for playgrounds.
The system was also used at an open-air shopping mall in Doha and a farm in Qatar.