Sheffield man helping Qatar run a cool 2022 World Cup

Dr Ben Hughes in his office at Sheffield Arts Tower
Dr Ben Hughes in his office at Sheffield Arts Tower
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Meet the Sheffield man who is a big part of footballers keeping their cool at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Doctor Ben Hughes isn't a referee though. He's a chartered mechanical engineer at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Hughes and his team at the university's Energy 2050 Institute are working to keep the World Cup venues cool.

Environmental concerns surrounding conventional cooling methods mean the team will turn to 'passive cooling'.

Air towers will capture the air, before it's pumped over pipes of cold water and then into the stadiums.

The technique is cheaper and greener than conventional air conditioning.

It's an efficient system. Air temperatures in the Middle East are often set much lower than Britain.

"About 80 per cent of people in the UK set the air conditioning for 21 degrees but in hot countries it's more like 17 or 18 degrees. In Qatar, it can be 40 degrees outside but shopping malls will be 17 degrees," Dr Hughes said.

And, importantly for Sheffield, the project gives manufacturers in the city the chance to show off their products on the world stage.

The towers, which measure about 1m high, will be produced at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Catcliffe.

Twenty three of the glass-reinforced plastic towers will be flat-packed and sent to Abu Dhabi.

They will be used as part of the first passively cooled school, which Dr Hughes team has also been involved with.

It will open in March 2018.

The team is also working with BMW to help the car giant reduce energy at its Munich headquarters by the year 2020.

The company aims to have a 20 per cent reduction by that time.

Dr Hughes said he planned to get to a couple of games to watch England play in Qatar..

"There's no way I'm missing that," he said.

Mr Hughes is a Newcastle United fan.

"I am in a very fortunate position. I seem to get research grants in areas I have a personal interest in," he said.

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