Some of the seats used in stadia at football’s 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar could be created using palm tree fibres, if a concept developed by a team of engineers is successful.
The five-member team comprises Nourah Alrubaiq, Suhailah Alkhawaske, Nada Haboudal, Arwa Alanqary and Noreen Mandora. The five are said to be among the first female engineering graduates of Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisal University.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, which is responsible for delivering the stadia and infrastructure for the World Cup, said the team plans on using the biomass produced by palm trees in “sustainable industrial applications” such as creating stadium seating.
The idea has reached the semi-final stage of Challenge 22, a regional innovation award launched by the Supreme Committee.
The team initiated the project in 2015 and has since begun working on fabricating test samples of the material produced from palm tree fibres to assess its suitability for creating stadium seating.
Waste generated from date palm trees would be mixed with recycled polymer such as PVC to produce the seats. The project centres on recycling on two levels, with the seats themselves able to be reused once constructed.
The team found that by using just one to three per cent of the 75,000 tonnes of annual palm tree waste generated in Saudi Arabia, they would be able to produce between 40,000 and 60,000 seats. Construction price would be reduced considerably given the cheap price of palm tree waste.
Alrubaiq said: “We are looking to promote and encourage local production and we hope that Challenge 22 will be the platform that helps us reach our goals.
“In the short term we want to secure the support for patent registration, and in the long run implement the idea and finally conclude the feasibility of its use in projects for the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar and other regional projects.”
The Supreme Committee will announce the Challenge 22 finalists later this month. Finalists will then be invited to Doha to take part in further workshops to fine-tune their ideas.