For Science

Freezwater Project

The Project

Aragats Freezwater scientific research grant to Engineering Research Center of the American University of Armenia Engineering Research Center of the American University of Armenia funded in 2009 by Cage Holding SA.

Scientific research project by academician R.V.Ambartzumian


FREEZWATER is an abbreviation  for a longer expression "Water Retention through natural Freezing"and stands for the idea of keeping water in the form of ice on sufficiently high mountain altitudes by natural freezing during the winter period. Freezing can be achieved by dispersing water dust or drops on sufficiently large areas of appropriate profile and orientation using a pipeline network, in the prolonged periods of frost that are an essential climatic factor on high altitudes.

On the Aragatz mountain in Armenia (4100 meters) extremely favorable for FREEZWATER is the region below and adjacent to Lake Vishap at  the altitude of 3200 m. FREEZWATER is by no means restricted to Lake Vishap, and in the case of success can be easily transferred to other locations worldwide.

In the vicinity of Lake Vishap snow layers preserve until mid-July. Melting pattern of the ice layers is shifted at least by 5—6 weeks as compared with snow.

Therefore the period of intensive melting of the virtual artificial glacier would fall on August that is the period of minimal natural water release from Aragats and maximal demand from the agricultural areas.

Increase in the water yield from Aragats at this bottleneck period may have an effect of increasing the agricultural output of considerable surrounding areas and of  improvement of living conditions in the densely populated foot belt of Aragats (at least 150 000 inhabitants). Especially attractive seems to be the possibility of applying water cannons that disperse water in fine drops or spray with no electric power consumption (i.e. using the natural pressure within the pipes that bring the water).

At present there are  unknown parameters and questions that need be evaluated or answered. For instance: how much water can be frozen on a hectare in an hour, given the air temperature; what is the possible effect of orientation of the freezing site?  The orientation is responsible for the difference in  the frequencies of natural “snow sausages “ easily observed on different slopes. Some questions can be answered by performance of small-scale experiments.

A tiny pilot project has been performed in Winter 2008 at the Amberd meteorological station on the slope of Mt. Aragats just above the famous Byurakan astro-physical observatory of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, at the altitude of 2070 meters (fig. 1).  For Winter 2009—2010 we plan a much larger and more realistic experiment  at the altitudes of about  3.000 meters, using five times more  powerful water source gracefully offered by Byurakan authorities.