Proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ is investing €350,000 in the Delft-based startup Arctic Reflections. The startup has devised a method to thicken the ice in the Arctic in winter, reducing the rate of melting in the summer. The investment was announced by Rinke Zonneveld, who played a key role in UNIIQ’s founding and is now the CEO of Invest-NL, at the Fixing Carbon Together event by CarbonFixArctic ice halved in the summer The sea ice in the Arctic acts as a sort of mirror for sunlight, significantly reducing the warming of the underlying seawater. Due to global warming, the total surface area of Arctic ice has already halved in the summer, causing the sea to warm up more rapidly. This creates a vicious cycle. Current estimates show that, without intervention, the first ice-free summers in the Arctic will become a reality in the next 20-30 years, bringing various climate risks.
Arctic Reflections aims to assist Arctic ice by thickening it in the winter, achieved by pumping seawater onto it. This helps the ice persist longer into the summer, maintaining a larger and longer-lasting reflective surface, thereby slowing down global warming. While a seemingly simple idea, its execution poses significant logistical challenges, especially with the ambition to thicken more than 100,000 square kilometers of ice—over twice the size of the Netherlands—each year.
Arctic Reflections now receives an investment from UNIIQ to conduct the first field test in Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway. In a nearly enclosed bay, they will install the initial system to thicken the ice throughout 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: “We are delighted that UNIIQ wants to support us in the pilot phase this winter. With this investment, we can confirm the initial lab results in practical tests on Spitsbergen, gain additional experience working in icy conditions, and explore how to ensure our long-term impact through collaboration with partners.”
Tom Meijeraan, co-founder of Arctic Reflections: “With Arctic Reflections, we aim to realize an initially seemingly unattainable idea and feel honored that UNIIQ wants to support us in our mission to preserve Arctic ice.”
“UNIIQ invests in Arctic Reflections because we believe in the crucial role the Arctic plays in combating climate change and in the mission of Arctic Reflections. Fonger and Tom have a fantastic ambition, and we at UNIIQ are happy to contribute to it,” said Jasper Geselschap, Fund Manager at UNIIQ.