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Last year, Arctic Reflections just missed out on the Marc Cornelissen Brightlands Award, but now the result is there: UNIIQ is investing 350,000 euros in the start-up that aims to make the Arctic ice grow again.

Arctic Reflections aims not only to stop the melting of the polar ice, but to make it grow again. The start-up wants to do this by spraying ice water over the frozen cap with hundreds of pumps in the winter, making the ice thicker and wider, thus making it last longer in the summer. Founder Fonger Ypma: “More ice means more sun reflection and earth cooling. This is crucial because warming continues no matter how hard we reduce CO2 emissions. With thicker ice, we can stop that process.”

The sea ice at the North Pole acts as a mirror for sunlight, causing the seawater beneath it to heat up much less. Due to global warming, Arctic sea ice’s total surface area has halved in summer, so the sea is warming up faster and faster. This creates a vicious cycle. Current estimates show that in the next 20-30 years, without intervention, the first ice-free summers in the Arctic will become a reality, resulting in all kinds of climate risks.

The idea of Arctic Reflections seems quite simple but is quite a logistical challenge in implementation. Especially with the ambition to thicken more than 100,000 square kilometers of ice – more than twice the area of the Netherlands – per year.

With UNIIQ’s investment, the company plans to conduct an initial field test in Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway. Here, an initial system will be installed in a near-closed bay, thickening the ice during the freezing season. Numerous measurements will be taken to compare the realized impact with lab results. With this, Arctic Reflections hopes to achieve a first proof-of-concept.

Fonger Ypma, founder of Arctic Reflections, is already looking forward to the field tests. “With this investment, we can confirm the initial lab results on Spitsbergen in field tests, gain additional experience in working in the icy conditions, and look at how we can ensure our long-term impact through collaboration with partners.”

Unfeasible idea?

Co-founder Tom Meijeraan said, “We want to make a seemingly unfeasible idea a reality with Arctic Reflections, and feel honored that UNIIQ wants to support us in our mission to preserve Arctic ice.”

For UNIIQ, it is about the great importance of Arctic Reflections’ mission. Fund manager Jasper Geselschap said, “UNIIQ is investing in Arctic Reflections because we believe in the critical role the Arctic plays in combating climate change and the mission Arctic Reflections has. Fonger and Tom have an insane ambition, which we, as UNIIQ, are happy to contribute to.”