Doha: Qatar launched cooled fan zones for football fans wishing to watch 2014 FIFA World Cup matches currently taking place in Brazil.
The move is part of the country’s research efforts to develop efficient cooling technology to counter the searing heat of the summer in its stadiums, where summer temperatures average around 40 Celsius, when it hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Qatar was awarded the right to host the competition in December 2010 and the decision was based on its plans to stage the event in June-July using air-conditioned stadiums to combat the heat.
Qatar has developed a small, solar-powered prototype stadium seating 500 during the bid process but wants to develop more efficient technologies ahead of 2022.
Two of those are the Brazilian World Cup fan zones at Katara and Aspire Zone Foundation.
In line with a promise to deliver an amazing fan and player experience at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) is working with stakeholders across Qatar, including Aspire Zone Foundation, to develop open-air cooling technology.
This ground-breaking technology is currently being tested at two sites as the journey towards 2022 continues.
To show the partnership between both organisations, Aspire Zone Foundation chairman Hilal Al Kuwari joined SC Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi this week to experience both facilities.
The Aspire Zone Foundation Fan Zone has attracted fans to experience the cooling technology being developed to use on training pitches and spectator walkways that will provide connectivity between various locations in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Brazil 2014 Fan Zone at Katara, has piloted the cooling technology that will allow for large public gatherings of spectators during the tournament in 2022 and for many other events in the future.
Both facilities signal the progress being made towards and demonstrate the plans to cater for a summer World Cup are fact on not fiction.
The fan zone at Aspire, the size of a full scale football pitch, has been designed to test the cooling technology capabilities for training sites and facilities in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
For the use of the World Cup, the interior has been designed in line with traditional Qatari heritage including Majlis seated areas.
While temperatures outside rise up to a scorching 40 degrees, the fan zone is cooled to a temperature below 30 degrees Celsius during the scheduled match times, a challenge Qatar handled well, according to Executive Director of Communications and Marketing for the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Nasser Al Khater.
“We had a challenge, which is to try different cooling types and technologies for public places. Thanks to God, I can say that we succeeded in this mission. The temperature inside (the fan zone) is about 13 degrees less than the temperature outside. We had this challenge and we managed to respond to it”, he said.
A range of methods were used to cool the area, including dedicated ventilation units for cooled air, high level jet nozzles to restrict prevailing winds and air-controlled modifiable dampers.
Fans watching the matches on the weekend said the experience was comfortable overall.
“The temperature outside ranges from 48 to 50 degrees with a high level of humidity. Here the temperature is suitable for us to watch the match. The temperature is good”, one visitor to the Fan Zone, Abdullah Hosni, said.
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said in a statement that the application of various cooling technologies in the fan zone will help its engineers develop an understanding of how to create the perfect energy efficient system ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The committee stated that over the coming years ahead of the 2022 World Cup, the system will be further enhanced and refined as other technologies are developed. Research and development for cooled open-air facilities in Qatar began in 2004, with Al Saad Stadium becoming the first open-air football stadium in Qatar.
Aspire Zone Foundation has worked closely with academics and students at Qatar University to develop the cooling technology and welcomes all research and insight from other organisations.
Part of the testing programme has been to establish the most cost effective form of cooing technology ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. Both sites have been well attended to date, with football fans in Qatar getting a glimpse of what the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar will look and feel like.The Peninsula