Seven out of 8 stadium venues at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar are airconditioned using solar energy. According to information from FIFA, the stadium venues are:
Al Bayt stadium was constructed at the cost of $847 million with a capacity of 68,895
Al Janoub stadium was constructed at the cost of $656 million with a capacity of 44,325
Ahmad Bin Ali stadium was constructed at the cost of $360 million with a capacity of 45,032
Al Thumama stadium was constructed at the cost of $342 million with a capacity of 44,400
Education City stadium was constructed at the cost of $700 million with a capacity of 44,667
Khalifa International stadium was constructed at the cost of $374 million with a capacity of 40,000
Lusail stadium was constructed at the cost of $767 million with a capacity of 80,000
Stadium 974 was constructed at the cost of $717 million with a capacity of 40,000. This stadium is naturally ventilated and has no need for air conditioning. According to FIFA, this stadium is designed to be naturally ventilated and has no need for air conditioning.
Meet Dr. Cool: Dr. Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, also known as Dr. Cool, is a professor of mechanical engineering at Qatar University. He is the engineer behind the air-conditioned stadium venues used for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Dr. Cool worked on the solar air-conditioning mechanism for 13 years.
Solar for air-conditioning: The air-conditioning system in the stadium venues is powered by the Al-Kharsaah solar farm in Doha. The 800 megawatts (MW) peak solar farm was completed in October 2022 by TotalEnergies, Qatar Energy Renewable Solutions, and Marubeni. The solar farm covers 10 square kilometers (the equivalent of roughly 1,400 soccer fields). The solar farm project cost $467 million (1.7 billion Qatari Riyals), and consists of about 1.8 million solar panels.
The solar farm integrates two million high-efficiency bifacial modules mounted on single-axis trackers. The panels are equipped with photovoltaic cells on the front and back, which allows them to capture the sun’s direct rays on one side, and capture the rays reflected on the ground on the other side – thus optimizing electricity production. The key advantage of using bifacial panels is the increase in energy production by utilizing the second side of the module
How it works: Acontrolled microclimatic bubble envelops each spectator (nozzles are placed under the seats) and covers the field (air vents are placed around it), at a height that does not exceed 2 meters at any point inside the enclosure. Pre-cooled air comes in through grills built into the stands and large nozzles alongside the pitch.
Using the air circulation technique, cooled air is then drawn back, re-cooled, filtered, and pushed out where it is needed. According to Dr. Ghani, those who worked on the cooling systems are not just cooling the air, they are cleaning it.
“We are purifying the air for spectators. For example, people who have allergies won’t have problems inside our stadiums as we have the cleanest and purest air there is.”
Dr. Ghani has previously told FIFA that warm air is prevented from entering the stadium venues.
“The most important thing to cool effectively is that you don’t want the outside wind to enter the stadium. That’s why the size and design of the stadium have to be studied and altered accordingly so that they block warm air from entering the stadium.”
According to Dr. Ghani, air conditioning will account for only 20% of the stadium venues’ annual electricity consumption. So, the stadium venues can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round
A people-centered technology: According to Dr. Ghani, the technology is deployed using spot cooling, which means it only cools areas where the people and players are. He told GOAL.com that he and his team use the best computers and technology to provide an optimum temperature so that World Cup fans from across the world can feel comfortable during games.
Dr. Ghani pointed to the fact that the cooling technology will keep temperatures inside all stadium venues regulated at a comfortable 23-25 degrees Celsius, regardless of the mercury readings outside. Also, the cooling technology has a filter for dust and odor, and since the air is recycled, it ensures that the air is purified to perfection. Also, the cooling technology helps athletes to perform at an optimum level, unlike in traditional stadium venues where water breaks are predominant.
For the record: According to FIFA, the Lusail Stadium has received a 5-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System. Recycled water is used to irrigate plants around the stadium and water-efficient fixtures as well as leak detection systems are operational at the stadium.