Qatar’s ‘Dr Cool’ keeps World Cup stadiums chilly with solar-powered AC



The power for the system comes from a giant solar farm in the desert outside the capital Doha, he added. The same technology is being used in greenhouses where Qatar grows increasing amounts of its own food.

“We have the best thermal insulation on our machines, the best sensory systems around the stadium,” said Saud.

And the air conditioning will still be needed in December, despite the cooler temperatures.

Each human generates the heat of two laptops and gives off 70g of sweat per hour, according to Saud.

He gave the example of the Lusail Stadium where 80,000 people will gather for the World Cup final on Dec 18.

“They are there for four hours, so that is a lot of water. And I also have the heat of 160,000 laptops in that space. So that heat must be offset irrespective of whether it is winter, summer, autumn or spring.”

The use of air conditioning in stadiums remains controversial, however.

Russell Seymour, chief executive of the British Association for Sustainable Sport, said that while the technology and renewable energy in Qatar may work he had concerns about the wider message given by air conditioning an open space.

At a time when people are being urged to save energy “quite often people in an office will open the windows, they want fresh air but they’ve also got air conditioning on and then things compete, and that’s when the issues come”.

Saud said he is happy for any expert to inspect the system and check his sustainability claims. The technology has been made free of patent restrictions for anyone to copy.

He is also certain that future World Cups – particularly in 2026 in the United States, Mexico and Canada – will follow suit.

“In the future, for the safety of players, air-conditioned stadiums will be more of the norm,” he said.

As global temperatures rise due to climate change, “if you want players to complete the game without water breaks, without any interruptions then air conditioning will be a necessity”.

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