“With the world’s water resources projected to diminish by one third in the next two decades, providing pure water to an ever- increasing world population is vital,” Mougin explained. To Mougin and Mauviel, one solution would be to transport icebergs to areas that lack fresh water for drinking and even cooling purposes. The scientific challenges are impressive — capturing a large iceberg that can weigh up to 7 million tons, protecting it from melting while transporting it across the ocean, securing and optimizing the trajectory with respect to meteorological and oceanographic conditions, and breaking up the iceberg to turn it into drinking water.
Dassault Systèmes worked with Mougin and his team to simulate the iceberg’s trajectory and its evolution by taking into account data such as variations in ocean temperatures, wind force and direction, sea currents, and boat drag force. They inserted this data into a 3D model of the iceberg to simulate what would happen all along the voyage.
The critical challenge presented to Dassault Systèmes’ engineers was to demonstrate, using virtual technology, the technical feasibility of displacing the iceberg in a controlled manner while reducing its melting. The project, managed by Cédric Simard, Interactive Strategy & Marketing Project Director at Dassault Systèmes, involved a number of steps:
- Model the iceberg with CATIA based on a cloud of points obtained by scanning a real iceberg with radar.
- Calculate and simulate the way the iceberg would melt using CATIA Systems and SIMULIA.
- Simulate the way the iceberg would melt if surrounded by a protective isothermal “skirt” imagined by Mougin to slow the melting process.
- Calculate how much fuel the boats would consume depending on the winds and currents encountered along the way
Various scenarios were simulated, such as number of boats needed, different departure dates and climate conditions, and the behavior of the boats and iceberg in the event of a storm or turbulence. In addition to enabling the team to visualize these scenarios, the simulation also allowed the scientists to test how to deploy the isothermal skirt around the iceberg.