Mongolia seems like the last place on earth that should worry about global warming, but all the same the frigid northern country is already planning for the worst. In addition to crazy cold winters, it turns out that the capital city Ulan Bator also experiences scorcher summers that exact a tremendous energy load. To cut down on energy use and scale back the urban heat island effect, local geoengineering firm ECOS & EMI plans to create massive chunks of manmade ice, like the one seen above from BLDGBLOG, modeled after naturally-occuring naleds, which will be used to not only cool the city during the summer, but also provide fresh drinking water!
Naleds are created on the Tuul River when it ices over in the winter. Water pushes through small fissures in the ice, and – fueled by pressure and frozen by cold air – eventually grows into ice chunks sometimes as wide as 7 meters. Typically naleds are viewed with disdain since they jeopardize bridges and other infrastructure, but scientists have realized that they can mimic this concept to create giant refrigerators that melt over a long period of time and cool Ulan Bator.
ECOS & EMI will drill boreholes into the river as soon as a small amount of ice has formed and then pour layers of water over them. They are hoping that if they repeat this process several times throughout the winter months, the ice will grow so thick that it will take several months to melt back down. If it seems like an elementary process, think again. The government of Ulan Bator is planning to spend as much as £460,000 on this project, which they hope will be a model for other northern cities! Brrrr.
Via The Guardian