Qatar's 'Dr Cool' keeping World Cup stadiums chilly with solar-powered AC - in pictures

Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, has worked for 13 years on the cooling system that he says will keep the players and turf healthy and even eliminate body odour in a packed stadium

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Qatar has become almost a byword for scorching heat, but some fans will still take a sweater to World Cup stadiums because of state-of-the-art air conditioning that its mastermind says will become the norm for mega sports events.

Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, nicknamed "Dr Cool", worked for 13 years on the solar-powered cooling system that he says will keep the players and turf healthy and even eliminate body odour in a packed stadium.

The mercury can hit 50º Celsius during the Gulf state's blistering summers, which is why this year's World Cup was moved to the winter.

But even with maximum temperatures down to around 25º Celsius for the tournament in November and December, cool air will still be pumped out onto the players and watching fans.

"Dr Cool", a professor of engineering at Qatar University, has however developed a system that World Cup organisers say is 40 per cent more "sustainable" than existing techniques.

Seven of the eight stadiums are air-conditioned at a World Cup that organisers insist will be carbon-neutral.

At the 40,000-capacity Al Janoub Stadium, which will hold seven games including holders France's first match, Ghani said a two-metre-high "completely isolated bubble" of cool air will envelop the pitch and stands.

Inside the bubble, players and fans will be kept at 21º Celsius by jets blasting air at the pitchside and under spectators' seats.

Sensors around the stadium keep the temperature constant and even adjust air flows for seats in the shade or sun.

The rising air is sucked back into the stadium cooling system, cleaned by water kept at a brisk 7º Celsius and pumped out again by the jets.

"The players will have the best experience of their lives," said Ghani, highlighting how the chilled air would prevent injuries and illness suffered in extreme heat.

The power for the system comes from a giant solar farm in the desert outside the capital Doha, he added.

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:50 AM
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