Chill in the air: Dutch artist aims to create a glacier in the desert (with no added water)

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Artist Ap Verheggen, is looking to create a glacier in the desert, and the first tests are proving successful.

Together with Cofely Refirgeration, Ap conducted tests to prove that with solar energy huge amounts of ice can be made as a precurser to his SunGlacier project.

Ap said: “We knew that it was possible in theory, we now proved it in reality in a specially designed climate chamber.”

In that chamber the extreme conditions of the dessert are mimicked.

“The results convinced us that it is possible to create lots of ice in the dessert,” he said.

The idea is a development of Ap’s earlier work Cool(e)motion, where he faced melting glaciers in Greenland. He wondered if it is possible to create a glacier in another location.

Ap said: “During the last project, Cool(e)motion, we showed how fast Inuit culture should change as a result of climate change.

“At the same time I want to encourage people to remain positive on our future and use our creative ability to come up with solutions.

“This project therefore is a logical next step and the fact that it works is great news.

“With the project we show that things that seem impossible can be made possible, even with existing technology.”

The design is inspired by a leaf, according to Ap the most efficient user of solar energy. The top side is covered with solar panels. The conducted energy is used to cool the downside far below freezing point. The moist present in the air will freeze at the surface, thus creating ice.

The artwork will withdraw the moisture necessary to produce the ice from the air. The project is supported by UNESCO-IHE, the water training institute of the UN, of which Ap Verheggen is the cultural ambassador.

Here’s a look at the experiment:

For more videos about the project, head over the the SunGlacier site.

(image: Artist impression SunGlacier © Ap Verheggen)



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