Designer Ap Verheggen has developed various projects which aim to create glaciers and waterfalls in the middle of a desert. “SunGlacier” aims to be a 200 m2 plate with photovoltaic solar cells in the middle of the Sahara with a iceberg underneath. The leaf-shaped device aims to work as a dehumidifier and soak up the moisture from the desert’s air, condense it to water, and finally transform it into ice.
The creator of the project, Verheggen, told The Engineer “Our studies in Egypt have shown that the Sahara has approximately the same amount of moisture in the air as the Netherlands.”
Designers have already created a prototype of the concept. Collaborating with Cofely Refrigeration, Verheggen recreated desert conditions in a special shipping container and the device produced 10 cm of pure ice. The simulator has a humidifier which maintains conditions similar to this of the desert’s moisture levels, and a fan to imitate winds.
Verheggen is planning to finish tests next year and bring a prototype to the desert. Verheggen believes the concept may motivate others to create something. Verheggen says, “the SunGlacier art project hopes to stimulate people to think creatively about solutions to the challenges of climate change.” He adds, “I have kicked off the SunGlacier project as a new and unique sequel to the successful cool(E)motion endeavor.” The researchers are trying to find the most simple technology that is available to serve the idea.
After research done to create SunGlacier, Verheggen has come up with one more idea which may bring a real waterfall to a desert, calling it the Desert Cascades. The artist says, “a core message is that if our living conditions change, we can also change our mind set [and] try to shape these changes for our own benefit. For me it is clear that climate change = culture change.”
The Desert Cascades project aims to be a solar energy consuming cube. It may get the moisture from the air, pouring the collected water over the structure. Verheggen adds: “I am quite positive that we can generate, even now, an autonomously working waterfall in a desert, and I am confident that the results can somehow inspire new applications for the future.” If the invention comes to life, it may solve the water situations in the desert areas.
How may these kinds of inventions help the world to deal with the climate change and what other inventions might these developments help inspire?