Posted by Big Gav in mongolia
MNN reports Ulan Bator is considering an unconventional approach to cooling in summer - Mongolian city to be cooled by giant ice cube.
In one of the grandest geoengineering projects in the world to date, the Mongolian capital city Ulan Bator is preparing to keep cool this summer by freezing and storing a gigantic block of ice, reports the Guardian.
The ambitious project, which is being spearheaded by Mongolian engineering firm ECOS & EMI, will use the giant ice cube to reduce energy demand from air conditioners during the hot summer months, as well as to reinforce irrigation supplies. Citizens of Ulan Bator will also be able to tap the ice for their drinking water.
The plan is a practical one for Ulan Bator because of the city's unusually bipolar climate, which can be unbearably hot and dry during a few summer months but bitterly cold throughout the winter. In fact, Ulan Bator is the coldest national capital in the world. Ice can therefore be farmed during colder months and made to last through the summer.
In order to generate the giant ice cube, engineers have looked to nature for inspiration. The idea will be to artificially create "naleds"-- sheet-like slabs of layered ice, common in subarctic climates, that form from successive flows of freezing, pressurized ground water. Naled ice is far thicker than regular ice formation on lakes, since new layers continue to form so long as there is enough water pressure to penetrate the surface. In fact, naleds can be so thick that they have been used as drilling platforms, and even to build river crossings for tanks.
Officials will manipulate the naled-forming process by drilling bore holes in the ice that forms on the nearby Tuul river. As the water discharges across the surface of the ice, it will freeze in successive layers-- much like stacking ice rinks on top of ice rinks.
Although it may sound like an extreme solution to global warming, Mongolian authorities think that the technology could soon be utilized to combat rising temperatures in cities around the world. Giant ice cubes could even be used to create cool microclimates or ice-themed amusement parks that help sweaty citizens beat the heat in the summer.