Snow-Based Cooling System

Energy & Sustainability
Snow-Based Cooling System

According to Japan Today (via Ecogeek):

The transport ministry aims to introduce a system in fiscal 2010 to provide 30% of the cooling energy at New Chitose Airport terminal building in summer from snow collected in winter, ministry officials said Tuesday.

A regional office of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism collected snow last winter at the airport and confirmed that it could retain up to 45% of it by September by covering it with heat-insulating materials. It has concluded that the snow could be used to chill the liquid used in the airport’s cooling system in summer and that doing so would lead to a cut of some 2,100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, according to the officials.

Here’s a picture of a similar concept deployed in Sweden, with more info here (as well as yearly results):


6 thoughts on “Snow-Based Cooling System

  1. SuperJdynamite says:

    We have a lab full of servers which we have to cool with a few hundred tons worth of air conditioning (one ton = 12,000 Btu/h). I’ve often wondered why, when the weather outside is hovering around freezing, we don’t simply have a duct that circulates freezing air through the lab. It seems like it would save a lot of energy.

  2. Thinkerer says:

    This has been tinkered with in the states from time to time and when it works it’s a great energy savings (now if we can just store summer heat until February….). One of the recurrent problems with the trial installations were that yearly snowfall was undependable.

    Per the previous comments about the server farm: Energy management in U.S. structures is daffy at best. You can go through any neighborhood on a cool and dry summer evening and hear the air conditioners still running when opening a window would save many dollars per day. Large corporate structures are worse.

    For the server farm, a air-air heat exchanger would save them tens of thousands of dollars on their power bill, but I bet they never do it.

  3. Roland says:

    In his book “Table of Contents” 1985 he tells how Princeton used a snowmaking machine to make a huge slushpile one winter and use it to cool a campus building all summer. Huge energy savings. This is an old idea. “It has worked too well to be forgotten.” And that was when energy was cheap!

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Luke Iseman

Luke Iseman makes stuff, some of which works. He invites you to drive a bike for a living (, stop killing your garden (, and live in an off-grid shipping container (

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