Young scientists from Far Eastern Federal University developing new technology to build ice islands
At present, ice islands are often the only way to conduct exploratory drilling in shallow areas of the Arctic, where it is impossible to deliver a conventional platform due to the severe ice conditions.
Students and graduate students from the FEFU School of Engineering created an ice island with dimensions of 3.2 metres by 3.2 metres in Novik Bay on Russky Island. The scientists first prepared the surface of the ice, sawed off blocks, and transported them to the site of the future island. Within a few days the ice blocks froze along with the ice in the water, after which the outline of the island was cut out and lowered to the seabed. The island’s base rose above the surface of the water and became the base for yet another layer of ice blocks.
This technology can be scaled up: an island up to 200 metres could be built on the Arctic shelf and equipment could be deployed there to explore new oil and gas fields. In addition, the ice island is entirely eco-friendly – once work is completed, it simply melts without causing any harm to the environment.