Friday, August 12, 2011

Ice on tap...icebergs as a source of drinking water?

Bulk transportation of water either by bulk tanker  or water storage balloons towed by tugs is now fairly common place, but the problem of finding sufficient water supplies to fill bulk containers remains problematic.  The idea of towing icebergs from the arctic or Antarctic has been a dream of many engineers since the 1970's Link, with a  relatively small 7 million tonne iceberg sufficient to supply 125,000 people for a whole year.  Using new 3D predictive technology it now appears feasible to transport icebergs up to 7 million tonnes by using a geotextile skirt placed around the iceberg to insulate it and collect melt water which is then towed by tugs using the sea’s natural currents to help.  Without employing sea currents then it is simply not feasible.  In theory this will produce a high quality water using far less energy hence saving money.  Trials are planned to start next year when smaller bergs will be towed from Antarctica to Australia. Link However, there remains many logistical problems to be solved in recovering the water from the iceberg once it arrives in Australia.

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