BLDG BLOG examines the emerging field of ice engineering, which may prove more and more useful as naturally-occurring ice formations recede:
The city of Ulan Bator, Mongolia, will attempt to keep itself cool over the summer by way of a kind of artificial glacier.
According to the Guardian, this “geoengineering trial” will try to “‘store’ freezing winter temperatures in a giant block of ice that will help to cool and water the city as it slowly melts during the summer.” Project directors “hope the process will reduce energy demand from air conditioners and regulate drinking water and irrigation supplies.” The cool air will presumably be pumped through the city via a continuous and monumental network of ducts.
The project aims to artificially create “naleds” — ultra-thick slabs of ice that occur naturally in far northern climes when rivers or springs push through cracks in the surface to seep outwards during the day and then add an extra layer of ice during the night. Fascinatingly, naleds have already been used as foundations for infrastructural projects elsewhere; in North Korea, for instance, the Guardian reports, the military has utilized naleds “to build river crossings for tanks during the winter and Russia has used them as drilling platforms.”
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