This year’s World Cup is being held in the Middle East country of Qatar. And with the Middle East being one of the hottest regions in the world, it was challenging to control the temperature in the stadium during the World Cup. Dr. Saud Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, professor of engineering at Qatar University, solved this challenge. He became popularly known as ‘Dr. Cool’ as a result of inventing more effective and environmentally friendly methods instead of conventional methods of air conditioning.
Meanwhile, this is the first time that the World Cup football is being held in a Middle Eastern country. And usually at the time of year when the World Cup is held, it is summer in the Middle East. During summer, temperatures in various parts of the Middle East, including Qatar, reach 40 to 50 degrees Celsius.
Since being nominated as the host country, FIFA has been in discussions with the government of Qatar regarding the region’s extreme heat. As a solution, FIFA decided a long time ago that there will be an exception to the practice of organizing the World Cup in June-July. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in November-December, when it will be winter in Qatar.
Qatari football authorities are also aware of the problem of organizing football tournaments during the summer. Their country’s various tournament games are also held keeping in mind the weather and temperature. However, as this year’s World Cup is held in winter, the temperature in Qatar is at a bearable level. Currently, the average temperature in Qatar is around 25 degrees Celsius.
But regardless of the season in which the World Cup is held, the stadium needs to have special measures to control the temperature. Because a certain amount of heat is generated from the human body every moment. And if a large number of people gather somewhere, the temperature there can rise a lot. So Qatar has taken special air conditioning measures in stadiums for spectators and players.
How This Innovative Method Of Keeping The Stadium Cool Works.
Creating an air-conditioning system for the open-roof stadium was a major challenge for Qatar’s designers, engineers, architects and contractors. Because none of the world’s major facilities design or design firms had ever developed an air conditioning system specifically for stadiums before. But Qatari engineers have solved this problem in an environmentally friendly way.
This system works by creating a different type of climate within the stadium. This makes it possible to completely isolate the atmosphere of the stadium from the outside environment. Engineers have named this system a ‘microclimate bubble’. They gave this name as ‘microclimate bubble’ because a separate climate like a ‘bubble’ or ‘bubble’ is created which is different from the surrounding climate.
However, the biggest complication behind using this method in an open stadium was to prevent the warm air from outside from entering the stadium. And to ensure that, the engineers associated with this project gave the necessary advice to those who built the stadium. That is, significant changes have to be made to the design of all stadiums to make this cooling system work.
An example of this can be ‘Al Bait Stadium’. Initially, there was a plan to keep the color of the roof of this stadium dark. However, on the advice of those who worked on air conditioning, it was decided to build a light colored roof. As a result of this very simple change, the average temperature inside the stadium drops by about 5 degrees Celsius.
In this way, whatever the weather outside, this arrangement has been made during the construction of the venue to keep the stadium cool for the comfort of the spectators and players.
However, this system of keeping the stadium cool does not cool the entire stadium. Rather, only the area of the playground and where the spectators are, is kept cool. For this reason, the uppermost row of spectators is kept under climate control up to a maximum height of 2 meters.
This system of air conditioning works through ‘spot cooling system’. It uses football-sized ‘nozzles’ or tubes on the side of the field to blow cold air towards the players. And under each seat of the audience there is a small size ‘air diffuser’, with the help of which cold air is spread around.
With this method, the right amount of cold air is pumped to the right place. Then the arrangement is made so that the cold air stays there. And after a while all the air is drawn out and purified again. It maintains a comfortable temperature of 20 degrees Celsius inside each stadium during the game.
This Method Has Been Researched And Developed.
As mentioned earlier, this method of keeping the stadium cool was invented by Dr. Saud Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani. The idea of air conditioning in this way came to his mind from the topic of his PhD thesis.
During his education, he studied ‘Air Condition Engineering’ in UK. And the subject of his PhD thesis was to research the air conditioning system of Ford Mondeo series cars. He used the ideas from his research to keep the stadium cool. A group of researchers from Qatar University worked with him.
During the development of this method, 3D printed models of all the stadiums built for the World Cup were first created. Airflow was then tested in each stadium model one by one. The 3D printed models were placed in a ‘wind tunnel’ to understand how the surrounding environment would affect the temperature inside the stadium. In the ‘Wind Tunnel’ basically the air flow can be controlled to create a real world environment.
To better understand airflow, the researchers used special smoke and colored laser lights to observe models of the stadium. Observed smoke flowing from different directions at different pressures and speeds. The way air enters and exits the stadium can be precisely calculated by using laser lights and cameras to record data during the smoke flow.
The data was then processed through special software to see how the inside temperature would actually change during the air flow over the stadium. These software are called ‘Computational Fluid Dynamics’ or ‘CFD’ software.
Data processed by the software is used to calculate the number of visitors and how humid the weather will become due to their sweat, among other things. The air conditioning system of the stadium is based on the results obtained at the end of the whole process.
Also, using the information from the model, many techniques were used during construction to keep the inside of the stadium cool. For example, open-roof stadium roofs are designed in such a way that warm air cannot enter the stadium.
After that, ‘air diffusers’ and special ‘nozzles’ have been installed under the seats of the spectators in the stadium to keep the field cool. After that, sensors are installed in the stadium, with the help of which the weather and temperature of the stadium are calculated every moment during the match. Using these technologies, it has been possible to completely isolate the stadium from the outside environment.
In addition to the players and spectators, this system of keeping the stadium cool keeps the temperature under control by calculating the weather condition of the field grass.
Environmentally Friendly Compared To Conventional Air Conditioning Systems.
Conventional air conditioning systems draw in air from outside a building, cool it and blow it inside. However, being a hot region, this method would have required a lot of energy to keep Qatar’s stadium cool. The air inside the stadium is cooled and purified in this new method instead of conventional technology.
However, this technology is not harmful to the health of visitors. According to the inventor, Dr. Abdul Ghani, this technology not only keeps the air cool in the stadium, but also purifies it. Those who are allergic to various airborne causes will not have a problem in these stadiums.
This system is approximately 40% more environmentally friendly than existing air conditioning systems. This stadium cooling system has to be activated just two hours before the start of the event or game. As a result, power wastage is less.
Also, eco-friendly sources like solar power are being used for air conditioning of the stadium. A significant portion of the electricity needed to cool the stadium comes from the Al Kharsah Solar Power Plant, located 80 kilometers west of the capital Doha.
This Potential Technology Can Be Used In Other Facilities Besides The Stadium.
This technology was used when Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium was being renovated on the occasion of the World Cup. Then this technology was applied during the construction of other stadiums one by one. This technology to keep the stadium cool was not used in ‘Stadium 974’ as it was built only in a relatively cool place by the sea.
This cooling technology was incorporated during the design of other stadiums. Among them, the construction work of “Al Janub Stadium” was completed first.
However, apart from the stadium, it is possible to use this technology in other facilities. This new technology has already been used in some installations such as a shopping plaza in Qatar and a farm located in the city of Al Khor.
Hopefully, this technique of keeping the weather cool will bring positive changes in the air conditioning system of the future.