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Qatar World Cup brings air-conditioning challenge

Qatar’s recent 2022 World Cup win has brought about a focus on large scale air-conditioning, particularly when summer temperatures in the country regularly pass 40 deg C.

12 stadiums will be built in all with several being ‘open air’. All will be incorporating solar technology to generate electricity, and when not in use this will be diverted back onto the grid. This arrangement is claimed to facilitate carbon-neutral stadiums.

However, this claim has been challenged due to the gas used in the actual A/C units, which will produce a degree of leakage into the atmosphere.

Furthermore, the huge energy demands required to power the facilities may not be fully covered by solar technology.

Speaking in The Telegraph, Professor Graeme Maidment, South Bank University, said: “Although the stadia claim to be ‘carbon neutral’ it is not clear whether this assessment has included the impact of cooling gases. 10 per cent of all greenhouse gases are from refrigeration and air-conditioning, approximately one third of this is from air-con.”

The amount of energy that will be used is immeasurable at the moment, however David Butler of the Building Research Establishment, said: “Putting solar panels on the outside of the Qatari stadium will not generate enough energy to cool it. They will simply run out of juice as the amount of energy required will far outstrip the number of panels.”

Mr Maidment suggests adopting a cooling cycle approach, to harness the heat. “We would encourage the World Cup to use adsorption and absorption bridge technology, which means the cooling will be powered by renewable means.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Qatar has already built a test stadium that was run during the hot months so they have numbers to based the power on. David Butler is right that they will not be able to put enough panels on the stadiums to run the power they need for such a project, but none of stadiums ever had images of solar panels on them. I would suspect they are thinking along the lines of a large solar park that would produce enough energy to power all the stadiums.

    This would certainly make more sence. The power could be pumped back into the grid and the stadiums power needs fed through the existing network.

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