World cup 2022: HVAC oases in the Qatar desert

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World cup 2022: HVAC oases in the Qatar desert
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World cup 2022: HVAC oases in the Qatar desert

– by Peter Koelewijn, 28-06-2018

What do football and luxury yachts have in common? Both will have an oversize presence at the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar. And that is not the only similarity. The same ambitious techniques deployed by the yacht building industry will be used during the preparation of this event. Remember when it was announced that the next World Cup would be played in Qatar? The major question on everybody’s lips was: How are they going to manage that with all the heat? Well, the official slogan of Qatar 2022 is ‘Expect Amazing’ – and the hosts will provide nothing short of that.

Winter is the new summer

The first unusual thing about the coming tournament is the timing: it will be held in the autumn/winter, November and December to be precise. This will make for an unfamiliar calendar and an atypical backdrop: there will be Christmas trees and commercials showing Santa in the halftime break. The reason for this unusual choice is obvious: the heat. A lot of people will travel to Qatar to support their heroes. Imagine the crowds in the searing hot temperatures of the Gulf summer! For many people, this would pose quite a health risk.

Chilled stadiums

What about the players – will it be too hot for them to play? The answer is no, and this brings us back to our topic. The stadiums will be equipped with top-notch HVAC design, just like luxury yachts. The first stadium purpose-built for the World Cup is the Qatar Foundation Stadium. It deploys state-of-the-art HVAC technology to maintain a comfortable environment for both spectators and players. In fact, the technology is advanced enough to keep the stadium comfortable with an open roof even if the tournament took place in the summer period.

Cooling in an open environment

But isn’t outdoor cooling a total waste of energy? Yes, putting a cooling machine in the open desert would indeed cost a lot of energy. But what we are talking about is a freshly designed and newly-built structure. Advanced modelling like CFD (computer fluid dynamics) allows precise calculations of air direction, heat and flow to be made. Smart design will make the system as effective as possible. Of course, it still feels counterintuitive to install air-conditioning in an open environment. It’s not something we’re used to, unless we own a modern luxury yacht.

Expect amazing

But if you think about it, air-conditioning is completely artificial by its very nature. Hot spaces cooled through the ingenious use of mathematics, physics and technology – our grandparents would have been amazed when they first used a simple fridge. This is not so different: old techniques have evolved and experience and know-how have brought about a new age where seemingly impossible things suddenly become plausible, then commonplace. No, we do not have experience in stadium cooling – but trust me, a lot of ideas for it have already been tried and tested on many of the yachts docked in Qatar’s marinas. When it comes to maritime air conditioning, you can expect to be amazed by us, too.

Peter Koelewijn | Sales Manager

Peter Koelewijn has been working at Heinen & Hopman since 2001. Starting out as a mechanic, he gained valuable field experience mounting ducts and pipes for various shipbuilding projects. Five years later he switched to engineering, where he worked his way up from draughtsman, to engineer to site manager, leading teams of HVAC mechanics at one of the largest shipyards in Germany. The last couple of years he has been working as sales manager, combining knowledge from the field and the office to find the best solutions for our customers.