It was recently announced that Qatar has successfully won their bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is a Middle Eastern emirate located close to the border of Saudi Arabia and its climate is typical of desert regions with an average sweltering temperature of 46 degrees Celsius during the peak of summer. The 2022 World Cup is being launched in the month of March but even during this cooler month, the average temperature high is 27 degrees C – that would be declared as heat wave here in the UK!
As you can imagine, the conditions within Qatar’s open air stadiums are going to be uncomfortably humid, especially for the 22 men chasing the ball on the pitch. Thankfully then, as part of their winning bid Qatar officials agreed to air condition the stadiums in an innovative way; with remote controlled air conditioning clouds.
Clouds? Tell me more…
You probably have the image of a natural, fluffy looking cloud in your mind but the planned air conditioning won’t be similar in aesthetic in the slightest. There will be one artificial cloud per stadium and this means that they will be colossal in size and because each will need to hover over their respective stadiums they are going to be constructed from a lightweight, carbon material and injected with helium.
This is a list of other things we already know about the proposed clouds:
- The clouds will be remotely controlled.
It will be possible to program (or manually control) the clouds to follow the path of the sun throughout the course of an entire day.
- It is thought that each air conditioning cloud will be able to decrease the temperature of a stadium by up to 20 degrees Celsius by blocking out the rays of the sun.
- The project is expected to cost somewhere in the region of a whopping $50b to complete.
In addition, officials have declared that the air conditioning clouds will be eco-friendly – quite important since Qatar already ranks first out of everywhere in the World for per-capita carbon dioxide emissions at 55.5 metric tons per person!
But how will these air conditioning clouds be eco-friendly?
It is hard to imagine that such large air conditioners could be friendly to the environment but Al Jazeera – Qatar’s main broadcasting network – has explained how this is the case, by explaining that they will be powered by solar panels that are located on the roofs of the stadiums themselves. The panels will transfer and store energy which will chill water on the days that competitions/events are being held in said stadiums, creating cold air that will be delivered into the stadium and on to the pitch through slots within the crowd’s seating.
As an added eco friendly bonus, when the stadium is not being used, the system will export the energy it collects back into Qatar’s electric grid, meaning the stadiums will be of carbon neutral status.
I am very interested to see how Qatar’s World Cup air conditioning plans develop over the next decade and whether they can achieve their eco friendly goal. It is possible that Qatar’s clouds will revolutionise air conditioning worldwide, having a positive environmental effect – similar systems could be set up at for outdoor music festivals, or to cover large areas of central New York or London on warm and sticky days. The potential of these clouds is exciting!
For a better idea of what the cooling clouds will look like and operate, you should watch the following video:
The author of this guest post – Kat Cole – is particularly interested in Qatar’s eco-friendly air conditioning cloud proposal because she spent many of her teenage years installing air cooling solutions (such as dehumidifer and ceiling fan setups) with her step father in order to earn her pocket money.
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