Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup hinged partly on the promise of a pioneering method for cooling stadiums in the tiny emirate's searing summer heat, which can hit 50º Celsius in June. A 500-seat prototype showed how solar power, chillers and phase change material could be combined to chill and store water to cool stadium air and keep temperatures below 27º C on the field.
Observers were skeptical of the solution, and this week a FIFA task force recommended moving the international soccer tournament to November-December 2022. The panel cited the "consistently hot conditions" that prevail in the desert peninsula.
FIFA is expected to approve the move. Still, organizers say they're going ahead with the cooling plan, which has been criticized as overly ambitious and "not good from a long-term sustainability point of view."
"Basically, you use the heat to produce cold," Graeme Maidment, professor of air conditioning and refrigeration at London South Bank University told the BBC. "It's doable. But it's going to be very, very expensive."