Dassault was an interesting choice for a company that could implement this kind of project. Still, I'm always a bit skeptical of large-scale geo-engineering projects for solving various global-warming, carbon-capture, water-transport issues, as they often fall victim to the old Law of Unintended Consequences! Still, a worthy demonstration for the power of CATIA.
Agreed 100% Loring. I'm not sure whether the simulation effort does more to prove out the power of Dassault's virtual prototyping suite, including CATIA, as you well note, or the potential of Mougin's vision. In either case, it makes for an interesting story, especially when you get the first-hand glimpse of what's possible in the virtual 3D world.
Interesting idea. If you can afford to try it, go for it. I wonder what the environmentalists are going say. Dragging big "ice cubes" out of the polar regions might speed up "global warming" though....
There are obviously strong arguments on both sides. That was partly why Dassault Systems liked the project, according to the person I spoke to there. Given that there were environmental considerations both for and against Mougin's vision, they felt it was a perfect candidate to exploit 3D simulation to see whether or not the concept was even feasible.
Great story, Beth. Now that the simulation is finished, is there a feeling that they would still need to build a physical prototype, or can they go straight to building the first system? I know many people in the auto industry who do both: They use simulation to study it, then build a better physical prototype.
Chuck: These particular sets of simulations were really to prove out the feasiblity of the concept, not necessarily verify a specific design. If Mougin's company gets funding and if they move on to the next stage, my guess is they'll employ lots of other simulations to further refine the designs, prove them out, and still build a physical prototype at some point. With something of this magnitude, I can't imagine going straight to production on anything without actually creating a physical system.
Most of the engineering groups I'm talking with are leveraging simulation tools not as a substitute for building a physical prototype, but rather as a way to reduce the number of physical prototypes they build. So they only spend the money to build a physical prototype of the optimized design.
While it may be practical to tow an ice berg. Why not scoop up smaller ice bergs and transport them in "water tankers". If they melt it would not matter then pump the water out at the destination. No need to cover them or build a receiving port for a half mile block of ice.
I remember a project like this back in the 70's with Saudia Arabia financing...thru Iowa State University, if my memory serves correctly. The icebergs were to be shaped to provide less towing resistance. The idea was to cover the iceberg's surface above water with a layer of sawdust for insulation and a giant tarp anchored to the ice.
Mougin has been at this for 40 years and at one time, had the backing of a Saudi prince. Perhaps it's the same project and it's evolved over time. Not sure about the ties to Iowa State University, though.
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