UAE considers creation of artificial rain-making mountain
The United Arab Emirates is considering the creation of an artificial mountain in order to increase its annual rainfall and alleviate the pressure of a looming water crisis.
In theory, the man made mountain would force air to rise, thus creating clouds that could be ‘seeded’ with minuscule particles to encourage the processes of condensation and precipitation. Cloud seeding, which is a weather modification process designed to increase the amount of rainfall produced from clouds, has a permanent unit at The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) meteorological department, and can help to maximise UAE rainfall; NCAR is currently conducting detailed modelling studies, and $400,000 of funding has been made available for the scheme. Roelof Bruintjes, NCAR Scientist and Lead Researcher, told Arabian Business:
“What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be. We will have a report of the first phase this summer as an initial step.”
The specific location of the construction is yet to be determined as NCAR experts continue to test different sites across the UAE and, according to Bruintjes, if the project is deemed too expensive for the government, it will not proceed. The development comes following claims from researchers that the Gulf state could run out of groundwater within the next 14 years.
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.