The Eleven Cities skating tour hasn’t been run since 1997, due to temperatures not being low enough, and there not being the required 15cm of ice on waterways. But a TU Delft professor has suggested that rising temperatures shouldn’t stop the race.
Professor Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability at the Technical University of Delft, has suggested that 10,000 heat exchangers could be used, which also provide an alternative for heating houses (over natural gas), reports the Leeuwarder Courant.
Van den Dobbelsteen says: ‘heat exchangers extract heat from the air… but extracting heat from water is much more effective, and can reduce the water temperature by a few degrees.’ This extra cold boost could mean more and thicker ice in the waterways of Friesland- and hence an Elfstedentocht each year. Van den Dobbelsteen continued: ‘that couple of degrees decline could be enough, it works from a water temperature of four degrees. If there is a pump every twenty meters, ice can form, which is no problem in urban areas.’
According to the professor, the principle does not differ very much from the way that artificial ice rinks operate. Van den Dobbelsteen says that 10,000 exchangers would have to be installed in connection with a general energy transition in the region. And, he says, 10 percent of Frisian households along the Elfsteden route could be heated by the technology. A stumbling block to the plan would be the number of extra wind turbines required, which must be built before the heat exchanger network, and are not a current priority in the province.