Gallery: Scientists in Qatar Develop Solar-Powered Clouds to Cool World...

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In anticipation of extreme heat during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, scientists and engineers at Qatar University have developed a solar-powered gas-filled cloud that will shade spectators and athletes from the roaring sun. The $500,000 artificial clouds can be positioned over any of the stadiums in Qatar and can be maneuvered with a remote control from the ground to keep the passing sun off the field. While we think it’s cool (literally) that they want to shade the arena (saving on energy used to cool it) we’re a bit baffled as to why they wouldn’t just build a simple solar shade over it instead.

The head of the mechanical and industrial engineering department, Saud Abdul Ghani, told Gulf News that the clouds would be made from a lightweight carbon structure that surrounds an enclosed blimp-like vehicle filled with helium gas. The clouds would fly at very high altitudes therefore blocking out direct and indirect rays from the sun — and by doing so, decreasing temperatures inside the stadium.

The mechanical clouds are designed to be powered by four solar-powered engines — if you’re meant to block out the sun you might as well use that available energy for something good — and will be able to follow the sun’s east to west trajectory. Though the clouds are just in the design phase, engineers in Qatar have a full 11 years to finish the design and build process before the World Cup crowds hit the streets of the Middle East.

Via Gizmodo


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  1. Noah G November 27, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Did anyone see the National Geographic documentary which referenced an arab prince’s bed chamber from hundreds of years ago that was sunken into the ground. The chamber had clerestory windows on the east and west sides which angled downward to allow the air currents to cycle at the center of the room. The windows stood a short distance from ground level. To cool the warm directional winds that have been heating up in the desert, there were large wading pools in front of the east and west walls; the clerestory openings barely above the surface.

    The idea to take away from this is that in the desert where the air is very hot, large bodies of water can absorb heat before the air enters a space. (Maybe they could cover the parking lot in a few inches of water.)

    I met a mechanical engineer in Qatar who was working on a few green projects including a solar farm and the second life aspect of the proposed football stadiums. Unfortunately, the majority of the people I encountered were not as interested in those sorts of projects as we inhabitots are. I would love for Qatar to become more involved in energy efficient design.

  2. soldieroscar September 30, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Future News > real cloud blocks fake cloud… fake cloud kills 400.

  3. ayrik April 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    what i ask is, where is this “little” toy going to be parked? is it going to float all the time?

  4. sankaravelyudhan nandak... March 28, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    You are trying the Bossonova cloud over the stadium, and sometimes by polarized cloud lightning may also form and electric discharge may happen.

  5. pri March 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I would have thought advertising and money saved on air conditioning would pay for the clouds.

  6. Greg43 March 28, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Unique concept. Plenty of advertising surface on the bottom side, no? Could this possibly be used in a similar fashion to transport/travel like blimps did back in the day? Could pay for itself with these additional uses on non game days.
    Maybe a local tourist attraction for going up to get a unique view of any city. Kinda what big ferris wheels and CN or Eiffel’s Towers do in other city’s.

  7. waboolio March 28, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Oh great, how am I gonna get a tan while I watch now.

  8. caeman March 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Why build a simple sun shade over the stadium when you can show off your economic and financial prowess by building solar-powered aerostats to act as sun shades? Which gives the greater Ooooh and Aaaaah factor?

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