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General Questions

What is the goal of The Global Irrigation Project? Expand

The Global Irrigation Project is determined to resolve global warming, something that must be done together. Hence, it is a non-governmental organization, with aims at boosting research and developing a prototype with no aim of profit. Global warming must be solved on a worldwide scale. This will be done by strategically placing wind turbines all over the globe. The wind turbines will generate sustainable energy and can also be used as rotating cloud creators. By vaporizing salt water through the nozzles on the turbine(blades), clouds will be created. These clouds will block incoming sunlight and the water in the clouds will eventually fall as precipitation.

Is the idea patented? Expand

Yes, the patent is currently pending, with number N2031011. The patent is created in cooperation with the firm Arnold & Siedsma in the Netherlands. However, by cooperating with (research) institutes, companies, investors, and governments, we want to share the possibilities of this innovation.

How can I contribute to the program and plans of The Global Irrigation Project? Expand

The Global Irrigation Project is actively searching for (research) institutes, companies, investors, and governments to join. This can be done by contributing knowledge, efforts, and resources to the NGO. This can be a theoretical research, lab – or field tests or anything else which will accelerate the world of rotating cloud creators. Please reach out to [email protected] to get in touch.

What content can I use for distribution on my (news) channel? Expand

On the website a press page is available, with various assets which can be downloaded. This involves a logo package, various video snippets and high-resolution images. Everything can be used on (news)channels, if they or the context in which they are placed, do not conflict with the interest of The Global Irrigation Project. Also, at all times, a (source) reference to The Global Irrigation Project should be mentioned.

Is this concept proven or tested? Expand

Multiple researchers have investigated the field of making clouds. In 1990, the British researcher John Latham discussed this topic in academic magazine Nature1, and continued his research with several other studies2,3. The aim of his research was to create a bright cloud deck, which would reflect the sun light, and hence lead to a decrease of the temperature on earth. These clouds would be created by vaporizing water from so called Flettner vessels, spraying micron-sized water droplets in the air. According to their calculations, brightening clouds with 1.1% could be a sufficient offset4. Other work from Latham (2012)5 indicates that Marine Cloud Brightening (MCB) does reduce the amount of precipitation. However, this is based on the principle of brightening existing clouds, which is based on small particles. The Global Irrigation Project, however, intends to create additional clouds, with water particles such a size they will eventually come down as precipitation. The blocked incoming sunlight is considered as a positive side-effect. Also in The Netherlands, research in this field is performed, by the prominent researcher in the field of geoscience and atmospheric remote sensing Herman Russchenberg6,7.

Furthermore, several preliminary calculations have been performed by parties involved in The Global Irrigation Project. The next step will be to perform more extensive calculations and set up a lab- or real size test case.

1 Latham (1990) – Control of Global warming
2 Latham (2002) – Amelioration of Global Warming by Controlled Enhancement of the Albedo and Longevity of Low-Level Maritime Clouds
3 Latham (2006) – Computational assessment of a proposed technique for global warming mitigation via albedo-enhancement of marine stratocumulus clouds
4 Salter (2008) – Sea-going hardware for the cloud albedo method of reversing global warming
5 Latham (2012) – Marine cloud brightening
6 Interview with Russchenberg (2021)
7 EenVandaag (2022)

Is it ethical to perform geo-engineering on this scale? Expand

Humanity already performs geo-engineering on an enormous scale, such that some consider it as irreversible. Such as the excessive exhaust of greenhouse gases, exhausting usage of valuable resources, polluting natural areas and other factors which have contributed to the increase of temperature on it, and all the consequences of that. The Global Irrigation Project is determined to reverse these effects, through cooling down the earth again.

Also, the process will be very gradual. The amount of cloud creators vaporizing water and creating clouds can be controlled into great detail and the amount of vapor created will be increased slowly. Hence, during the process it can be stopped if unexpected and unwanted (side)-effects appear. Everything will be monitored by a network of satellites and meteorologists, who make sure everything happens as it should. Also, the idea will be subjected to an extensive testing routine, to avoid problems and clear out as many effects as possible, prior to usage.

Additionally, in case of dangerous developments or problems, the entire system can be shutdown with a push on the button. In the hours that follow, the remaining water in the clouds will fall as precipitation, returning earth to its former position. The wind turbines, however, can still be used for the generation of sustainable energy at that point.

Who will exploit the system? Expand

Stichting (Dutch for Foundation) Global Irrigation (Chamber of Commerce number 85540595) is patent holder and will act as the distributor of the licenses for the The Global Irrigation Project. With the system of licenses, all knowledge and responsibility will be collected in one central place, which is essential considering the global impact. (Commercial) parties can obtain licenses for (academic) research, building of prototypes of exploitation of the system.

Who is the investor of this project? Expand

Until this moment, the inventor of the idea and founder of The Global Irrigation Project has invested on the project on his own account. For future investments, external parties, such as investors, companies, and governments, are warmly invited to contribute to the work of The Global Irrigation Project.

What is the role of The Global Irrigation Project? Expand

The Global Irrigation Project has captured the idea and principle in a patent and will actively collaborate with other parties who are willing to work on the world of rotating cloud creators. The NGO acts as a supervisor and connector, and will provide licenses to those parties.

Will The Global Irrigation Project make a profit? Expand

The Global Irrigation Project is founded as a NGO (Stichting Global Irrigation, Dutch Chamber of Commerce number 85540595), which means it is a non-profit organization, along with a private company information (Besloten Vennootschap in Oprichting). This legal form will be maintained during the first phase of the process: Phase 1 – Development. In this phase, research will be performed and to this extent, investments are to be made. To finance these investments, other parties can (financially) contribute to the organization. These will be used to further develop the world of cloud creators, with for example academic research, field tests or PR-expenditures. Also, the people employed by the NGO can be offered a salary for their efforts. Whether these investments are located in the Foundation or the private company will be discussed with the parties involved. Phase 1 is ended when a functioning prototype is constructed and Phase 2 – Exploitation, is entered. In this Phase 2, various parties will make a profit, such as the constructors of the turbines. In this phase, the legal form of Global Irrigation may be altered to a form in which making a profit or distributing shares is an option.

Who is the founder of The Global Irrigation Project? Expand

The founder of The Global Irrigation Project is Pieter Hannessen, a Dutch entrepreneur in the manufacturing industry, who is determined that something has to be done to reverse global warming.

Technical Questions

What are aerosols? Expand

Aerosols are small particles, which act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCNs). These nuclei are the starter of cloud droplet, as they are the surface on which the water vapor condenses1. To give an indication on the sizes, a typical raindrop measures a diameter of 2 mm, a typical cloud droplet 0.02 mm and a CCN 0.0002 mm2.

1 Haywood (2016) – Climate Change, chapter 27
2 Formation of Haze, Fog, and Clouds: Condensation Nuclei

How does the vaporization process work? Expand

The salt water is sprayed from nozzles on the turbine, and the nozzles which will accelerate the water vapor’s velocity. Consequently, the salt particles in the water are turned into aerosols1. The water will instantly evaporate, which is due to the velocity and the heating that takes places in the nozzle2.  This vaporized water will condensate on the surface of the aerosols, which act as cloud condensation nuclei, and hence form cloud droplets. These droplets together form a cloud.

1 Latham (2012) – Marine cloud brightening
2 Crowley (1977) – Role of Joule heating in the electrostatic spraying of liquids

Is it possible to vaporize salt water? Expand

Yes, it is. This topic is, among others, investigated by Latham in 20121. To this extent, nozzles will be used, which are device with a, for this use, convergent design. The process for salt water is comparable to that of fresh water.

1 Latham (2012) – Marine cloud brightening

How can be ensured that the precipitation will fall in the right areas? Expand

A network of satellites and meteorologists will calculate the trajectory of the clouds, and by selectively turning on and off various wind turbines, the precipitation can be guided towards dry areas. With multiple wind parks spread over the globe, the clouds deck will be generated in a chosen geographical area. The precipitation will, based on the wind speed direction, eventually fall in the designated area.

Will the blades be able to withstand the additional weight of the water? Expand

The largest off-shore wind turbine of this moment, the GE Heliade-X has blades measuring up to 107 meters1, with each blade weighing up to 55 tons2. Preliminary calculations from The Global Irrigation Project shows that the majority of the water buffers will be located in the nacelle and the tower. Consequently, the weight of the water in the blades will only be a small percentage of the total weight of the blade, hence this is not expected to lead to any unsolvable issues.

1 GE Heliade-X
2 Windpower Monthly

Does the sea water have to be desalted before it can be used? Expand

No, it does not. The salt particles in the vaporized water will act as cloud condensation nuclei, on which the water vapor will condensate, and hence form cloud droplets. This is similar to the natural process of offshore cloud creation, which is based on sea salt aerosols. These are small salt particles, originating from sea spray. They can be created by bursting on air bubbles during whitecap formation, or by tearing drops from wave tops. For both processes, the wind speed is essential1. On the wind turbines, wind speed will be present because of the natural wind, the rotational movement of the blades and the forced convection. All of this will result in an acceleration on nature’s principles, which is why salt water is required for the process.

However, as Latham et al. proposed (2012)2, filters will have to be used to remove any unwanted or polluting materials from the water, before it is vaporized.

1 Levin (2009) – Aerosol Pollution Impact on Precipitation
2 Latham (2012) – Marine cloud brightening

Will the wind turbines be able to simultaneously generate electricity and produce vapor? Expand

Yes, that is possible. The turbine will still rotate, driven by the wind, and generate electricity. Partially, this energy will be used to power the pump and other installations required for the vaporization process, but the majority can be used for other purposes.

However, in the patent the option is discussed that the turbine will be driven by an engine to make it rotate, for example in the case of no wind. This could be done when vaporization is required at that specific moment. The engine could be powered with energy from other wind turbines, by a battery or with hydrogen.

Are the wind turbines and blades able to withstand the salt? Expand

In 2020, the total offshore wind power capacity was 35.3 GW1. This is generated by thousands wind turbines, which are located in harsh conditions. Consequently, the maintenance costs are a significant part of the total costs of offshore projects and make up to 38% of the operational expenditures. However, the total costs for offshore wind-energy are rapidly decreasing3,4, and there are promising developments, such as nano-coatings. The salt water does impose a challenge to the sustainability of the wind turbines but does not generate any unresolvable problems.

1 Global Wind Report 2021
2 Röckmann (2017) – Operation and Maintenance Costs of Offshore Wind Farms and Potential Multi-use Platforms in the Dutch North Sea
3 Stiesdal (2016) Midt I en disruptionstid
4 Real and predicted prices for offshore wind power

What will the generated energy be used for? Expand

The energy generated by the wind turbines can be used for a wide variety of processes. Primarily, it will be used as a substitute for fossil fuels since they are a major contributor to the global increase of temperature1. Furthermore, the energy can be used in the areas which now suffer a lack of electricity and can use this energy to harvest to new fertile lands. Remainders of the energy can be converted to green hydrogen and used as fuel for, for example, vessels.


How will the generated energy be transported? Expand

Currently, the generated electricity is transported to shore with means of a cable network. This is a combination of converters and cables1. However, there are limits to this, concerning the capacity of the network and energy loss. An interesting development is the production of hydrogen on sea, which is transported to shore. An example of such a pilot project is PosHYdon2. Advantages of the usage of hydrogen is that the already existing gas-infrastructure can be used, and transport and storage are relatively easy. Also, since hydrogen is an energy carrier, the onshore electricity network needs no modification to handle the, by the wind turbines generated, energy peaks.

1 Wind op zee
2 Project PosHYdon

Is it possible to use wind turbines which are already in operation? Expand

One of the next steps in the development of this process will be to retrofit a wind turbine which is already in operation, to test the effects and possibilities of using existing wind turbines. Based on these results, more wind turbines can be used. It should be noted, however, that the majority of the current wind turbines are located in Northern Europe1, which is not a currently intended area of interest for the creating of clouds.

1 List of offshore wind platforms

How many wind turbines are required? Expand

The Global Irrigation Project aims on starting a first testing phase around the so-called B-climates, with approximately 100 turbines. In a later stage this wind park will be extended, and other locations are built in order to expand and work towards a world saving tool.

Where will the nozzles be placed on the wind turbine? Expand

The patent has various options for this, both on the blades, as on top of the nacelle.