In the 1970s, with the backing of a Saudi prince, Georges Mougin proposed dragging icebergs from the North Atlantic to the drought-stricken shores of Africa.
Most experts laughed at him, and ever since, iceberg towing has been a mainstay of business opportunity scams and lore.
Well, it turns out that the “experts” were wrong. It is possible. And very feasible.
Cut to 2009 and French software firm Dassault Systemes, who thought maybe Mougin was on to something after all and contacted him to suggest modeling the whole idea on a computer. After applying 15 engineers to the problem, the team concluded that towing an iceberg from the waters around Newfoundland to the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa, could be done, and would take under five months, though it would cost nearly ten million dollars.
In the simulation, as in a real world attempt, the selected iceberg would first be fitted with an insulating skirt to stave off melting; it would then be connected to a tugboat (and a kite sail) that would travel at about one knot (assuming assistance from ocean currents). In the simulated test, the iceberg arrived intact having lost only 38 percent of its seven ton mass.
Mougin, now 86, is said to be reinvigorated by the results of the study.
After the jump, you can see a slideshow put together by Dassault Systemes of how it would work.