• The Oxygen Project

Mini Submarine Makes Lego-like Icebergs to Refreeze the Arctic

Wouldn’t it be great if a machine could reverse the melting of the Earth’s ice caps, save the natural habitat of the majestic Polar Bear, and slow down rising sea levels at the same time? Well, one group of designers from Indonesia came up with an ingenious way to refreeze seawater in the Arctic by making mini icebergs.


The team of designers, led by Faris Rajak Kotahatuhaha, created a prototype of a mini-submarine that could be used as a floating ice cube maker. It’s designed to go under the water’s surface and collect seawater into a central tank, which would then be turned into hexagon-shaped ice blocks, much like Lego pieces, and link up with one another to create new floating ice fields. The team of designers, which included Denny Lesmana Budi and Fiera Alifa, called the process - wait for it - ‘re-iceberg-isation.’


The mini-sub won second prize at an international competition organized by the Association of Siamese Architects. According to the designers, a special covering protects the vessel from the sun’s rays, then turbines, and a process called reverse osmosis filters some of the salt from the water to speed up the freezing process. The result – a 2,027 cubic meter “ice baby.” When the process is repeated, it creates a honeycomb patchwork of hexagonal ice babies that float around the Arctic Sea.


Of course, it would take more than one of these special little underwater machines to cover the whole of the Arctic, so designers would need to build quite a few of them to do the job. Each mini-submarine would, said the design team, be big enough to house a polar research center and an underwater hotel, which could help fund the Project.


“The main goal of this idea is to restore the polar ecosystem, which has a direct effect on the balance of the global climate,” said Kotahatuhaha, who believes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.