Engineers are searching for financial backing to start full-scale trials of harnessing icebergs for drinking water.
French engineer Georges Mougin, the co-founder of Iceberg Transport International (ICT), and his team have been working since the 1970s on how they can harness icebergs to produce fresh drinking water for drought areas.
The proposals foundered when Mougin was unable to solve the problems of how to prevent the iceberg from melting in transport, and what type of traction system was most suitable.
Another problem was how to make the transportation efficient in order to consume the least amount of fuel without increasing the risk of the iceberg melting more quickly.
However with progress made in meteorology and oceanography, particularly in satellite data, Mougin has been working since 2003 to revive the idea of harvesting icebergs.
He and his team have chosen the Canary Islands for their pilot project, a region which suffers from fresh-water shortages and uses desalination plants, making it ideal for testing the iceberg solution.
Using a typical tabular iceberg weighing around seven million tonnes, the team planned to select and capture the iceberg in the east of Newfoundland before towing it to the Canaries.
They have used 3D technologies to simulate and test the project details including labour, materials and processes, which can also help to anticipate any issues before embarking on the real project.
The model has demonstrated that the project is technically feasible, and can be used for quickly visualising scenarios that are too numerous, too complex or too dangerous to be carried out in the real world.
3D simulations can also be used for viewing, reviewing and making decisions based on results obtained from further digital trials.
Mougin and his team now want to start full-scale operational trials in the site, and are currently looking for a financial partner for the project to get off the ground.
See E&T's feature on towing icebergs
See E&T's exclusive simulated footage to be used in the project using scientific 3D simulation tools