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Design Hardware & Software

Simulating the Iceberg Transfer

Using simulation software from Dassault Systemes, the "Ice Dream" team was able to virtually simulate the transport of a 7 million ton tabular iceberg using a tugboat from Newfoundland to the Canary Islands as part of a research project to determine the feasibility of moving icebergs to solve the world’s water shortages.
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8/25/2011 | 8 comments
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Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Icebergs
Cabe Atwell   6/3/2014 7:51:46 PM
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I was wondering the same thing SledDawg. At the rate at which polar ice is melting how feasible would it be to harvest those icebergs? 

Ivan Kirkpatrick
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Platinum
Re: Icebergs
Ivan Kirkpatrick   3/12/2012 1:58:56 PM
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Perhaps now with al the talk about Climate change we can shift to a slightly different tact and talk about Climate Modification.  The issue is really the unequal and imperfect distribution of rainfall.  Moving it in large clocks is an idea but creating ways to move it in aqueducts or even undersea aqueducts  might be more useful and practical in the long run.  

Gettting it to rain in the right places might turn out to be a much more interesting problem.  

 

SSLGuru
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Iron
Icebergs
SSLGuru   12/21/2011 5:48:21 PM
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Evaluating this as an engineering possibility was actually one of the long questions in the Oxbridge A-level physics examinations in the UK - circa 1978 / 1979 I do believe. ...One of the ones I answered. Successfully appparently. The Nuffield New Physics A-Levels for University entrance - made us think like engineers. Good stuff. Not so sure I could pass now.

SledDawg
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Silver
Do we...
SledDawg   10/25/2011 1:50:14 PM
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have enough icebergs left to even make this feasible? (no joke...)

Didn't Willy Ley or someone like that suggest this in the early 50s? I seem to recall having a book about "the future" that had a drawing of this concept back then.

William K.
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Platinum
Simulating iceberg transfer.
William K.   10/3/2011 5:17:01 PM
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Conservation and recovery tricks are not worthwhile for places thatr have no rainfal to begin with.

It seems to me that the most cost effective method of transport could include an underwater insulation blanket, which would also keep the freshwater captive for recovery at the destination, reducing the amount of structure needed to use the water at the destination.

I also see the great challenge in that we have an excess of flood water and a drought at the same time. How about a huge pumping system to transfer the floodwaters to some of the relatively vacant land towards the west, so that it can replenish the ater table. That would solve the problem of cleaning flood water, and remove the cleaning task as well as the distribution challenge. 

The huge challenge is to find an economical way to move a cubic mile of water a thousand miles every day without creating a huge negative environmental impact. The positive impact of preventing floods would be fairly easy to see, the other effects are probably less well understood. Next is the question about the building of a 100 foot diameter acquaduct from the Mississippi river to New Mexico. That would be a challenge. OF course, to prevent flooding, it will need to take water from farther upstream, making the aquaduct even longer. What would it take to simulate the aquaduct?

Technophile
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Bronze
Re: Water Capture
Technophile   10/3/2011 1:47:18 PM
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Also worth looking at the systems approach in handling rainwater, which is a valuable resource that current practice tries to get rid of as quickly as possible.  Seems like a big part of the problem is the following typical sequence:
  • Get some land
  • Log off the timber and clear it, pave large areas, build large roof areas, plant grass lawns instead of vegetation that retains water
  • Channel roof gutters and runoff to drains, resulting in increased fast runoff
  • Complain about increased flooding

You might be interested in some books such as "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond" (Brad Lancaster) and the forthcoming book on rainwater harvesting by Art Ludwig.  The first book could be considered a bit preachy but has some very interesting ideas about system design.

SoCalPE
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Gold
Water Capture
SoCalPE   9/28/2011 3:17:23 PM
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Jim B., nice post.  Additionally, it'd be great to see us work on a reservoir system in the Midwest.  While states such as Georgia and Texas have been experiencing severe drought, it frustrates me to see states along the Mississippi flood plain get consistently flooded year after year.  Farmland, towns, etc... destroyed by the swelling river.  I can imagine a capture system that diverts these flood waters at predetermined locales for California aqueduct style rerouting to areas that consistently are in need.


Jim Bullis - - Miastrada Company
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Silver
moving water as icebergs or other methods
Jim Bullis - - Miastrada Company   8/27/2011 1:12:03 PM
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It is clear that water can be moved as icebergs, though the costs reported are misleading since there is no detail about how the iceberg will be tapped when it is at its destination.  This might not be insurmountable, but it might make the iceberg a less viable choice except for special destinations where there are no other options.

It has already been proven that water can be effectively moved in aquaducts and these are more readily coupled into irrigation water systems as well as municipal systems.  We would do better to look at distributing water on a continental basis in North America.  This would be a practical infrastructure project and would involve no advanced knowledge or simulations. 

The California aquaduct built in the early 1960s demonstrated the enormous productivity that can result from relatively primitive water engineering. 

On an ongoing basis, the Great Lakes and many Canadian sources could be used in a continental water management system.  This could change the productivity of massive Western land areas.  The special benefit would be that it could enable establishing standing forests of sufficient extent to serve as 'carbon' capture and sequestration without sacrificing the economic backbone of our industrial economy.   Other measures would still be important, but it would no longer be necessary rail against coal fired power plants or oil sands processing. 

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