Over the past academic year, 20 students from different schools in Qatar explored the engineering behind district cooling by participating in a programme hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq), a Qatar Foundation partner university, in collaboration with Qatar Cool.
During the programme, 'Keeping Cool with Qatar Cool', the students gained insights on various topics, including the physics behind pumps, heat transfer and heat exchangers, water and energy conservation, thermodynamics, refrigeration, water purification and reverse osmosis.
During each lesson, students worked on projects such as building water fountains, making swamp coolers, creating hydroponics systems, studying refrigeration components and creating water filtration and purification systems with an economic analysis for their designs.
The students also visited the Qatar Cool plant, which helped the participants understand how district cooling works and the engineering behind it. The students researched solutions to clean or re-use the refrigerant gas within Qatar Cool plants or develop a more environmentally friendly method to discharge the gas into the atmosphere, as part of their final project.
Karima Ahmed, a student at ACS International School Doha, said: "I was interested in the programme because it would help me explore more about engineering. I aspire to be an engineer so it was very important to me to have real life experience in the field. I expected to be challenged and pushed to try my very best in every class. Throughout the course I constantly felt challenged, I had to be a good communicator and work well with my team to create complex solutions. For students who are interested, this programme gives the best real-life experience in engineering. If you are unsure that engineering is the path for you then this course shows you what engineering is and how it looks like in real life."
Hasan Zubeidi, a student of Qatar Academy Doha, added: "I’d personally describe my journey with the ‘Keeping Cool with Qatar Cool’ programme as extremely inspiring and informative, as well as fun. It wasn’t just the physics and mathematics that I learned in class, but also the real-life application of those concepts. Every aspect of a solution was taken into consideration during the programme, and we relied heavily on the engineering design process that our supervisers taught and explained to us. Overall, I would say that this experience has been eye-opening and inspiring. I’ve been introduced to the world of engineering, a world that I had no idea was so extensive and deep. Thanks to that, my amazing team, and our great superviser, Katbeh, I can confidently say that I will be pursuing a career in engineering or at least in STEM."
The programme was developed by Tamuq’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Hub to give students a firsthand look at how district cooling works in Qatar from industry experts. STEM experts Tala Katbeh ('15) and Benjamin Cieslinski led the programme with input and some lessons from Qatar Cool.
Katbeh said, "The 'Keeping Cool with Qatar Cool' programme is one of a kind, and it was exciting to see how the students were actively engaged in the learning process. As an educator, I feel very proud to have been able to contribute towards preparing the next generation of future engineering leaders in Qatar. We are also grateful for the support that Qatar Cool provided in making this a valuable experience for the students."
Qatar Cool CEO Yasser al-Jaidah commenting on the programme said “Innovation and scientific advances are rapidly expanding, creating a demand for innovators. It is our next generation who will lead the way and build a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technical culture, students need to expand their skills in STEM to levels beyond what was deemed acceptable in the past.
"STEM education creates critical thinkers and enables the next generation of innovators. We are pleased to have been involved with Texas A&M in this programme. As an organisation rich with engineers from all disciplines, we know the worth of STEM education and the invaluable role our future engineers will have in sustaining and enhancing the efforts we are putting in place. We look forward to continuing to work with institutes and students, helping nurture and develop our future engineers.”
At the end of the programme, students were recognised for their outstanding efforts. Bayan Khraisheh, Hasan Zubaidi, Karima Ahmed and Yaman Adwan received the Best Teamwork Award, while JLina Elzeini, Rama al-Hamidi, Sana al-Hamidi and Zeid Kailani received the Best Presentation Award for their team’s efforts in the final project.
Wafaa Ismail received the Outstanding Citizen Award, Bartosz Werla got the Most Inquisitive Award and Karima Ahmed received the Best Engineering Notebook Award.
The students also visited the Qatar Cool plant.