The Public Works Authority in Qatar (Ashghal) has implemented a pilot “cool pavement” project in the capital, Doha, which involves the use of a cryogenic material to reduce the temperature of the asphalt on roads.
Unlike conventional asphalt, which contributes to increased temperatures by absorbing up to 95 percent of sunlight, the so-called “cool pavement” reflects UV rays and absorbs solar radiation to a lesser extent, thereby contributing to overall temperature reduction.
“I think it’s great that the government is open-minded about using technological innovation to deal with the challenges of living in the desert. The degree of cooling could have a real impact on our electricity consumption since air conditioning makes up almost 70% of household electricity usage,” said Hossam Almeer, a 30-year-old data scientist working for Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI).
The material is being tested on a 200-metre stretch of road near Souq Waqif and on 200 metres of pedestrian and bicycle paths in front of the Katara cultural village, both popular tourist destinations in the Qatari capital.
The road has opened to traffic to start testing the effectiveness of the material and to measure the success of this experiment and its possible formal application on the road network throughout the country.
Ashghal says the project will last for 18 months and based on the outcome of the pilot, it will determine its wider applicability.
A similar experiment has been implemented by the local authorities and the Bureau of Street Services in Los Angeles on an area spanning 15 residential blocks, in an effort to cool the city as it is hit by climate change.