Preservation of Traditional Ice Cellars in Permafrost
Project Lead: Rorik Peterson
Traditional ice cellars used along the arctic coast are becoming difficult or impossible to maintain due to changing environmental conditions in a fragile landscape. Using conventional vapor-compression refrigeration is not an attractive alternative due to the high capital and operating cost, and expense to maintain in remote areas.
There are several low cost, low maintenance engineering solutions that require no additional power which can be used to preserve ice cellars, including the use of thermosyphons, natural ventilation, and grading with re-vegetation. The University of Alaska, Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering has extensive experience in modeling, design, and implementation of these alternative engineering techniques for permafrost preservation.
This project is a collaborative effort between UAF, ExxonMobil, and the North Slope Borough to design an alternative ice cellar that is more robust to environmental and anthropic changes while meeting the immediate and future needs of arctic coastal communities.