On 21 November 2022, Delft University Fund signed a multi-year grant agreement with the Refreeze the Arctic Foundation. This will enable the development of innovative methods at TU Delft to modify clouds to combat global warming.
The Refreeze the Arctic Foundation is able to do its work thanks to a donation in memory of Hanns Walter Salzer Levi: linguist, historian, global citizen and philanthropist. The Foundation aims to develop emergency measures to combat global warming. It specifically supports research to make clouds whiter to reflect sunlight.
As scientific director of the TU Delft Climate Action Programme and professor of Atmospheric Remote Sensing, Prof.dr.ir. Herman Russchenberg mainly researches clouds. Clouds are an important part of our climate system. They retain heat and reflect sunlight. Without clouds, it would be 10 degrees warmer on earth. However, their cooling capacity decreases due to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. "And that could be addressed by targeted interventions in the climate system. By adding dust particles, aerosols, to a cloud, that ability grows again. This is because around aerosols, droplet formation takes place. The more droplets a cloud contains, the more sunlight it reflects. However, it is a matter of adding the right aerosols to the cloud, carrying this out in the right place and keeping the process going."
Cloud expert Russchenberg is happy that there is now space to start exploring this emergency option, but hopes it will always remain theory. The focus at TU Delft will be on ways to bring our emissions to zero and adapt to a changing climate.
Director Alumni Relations and University Fund Delft, Jasper Peterich is delighted with the collaboration with Refreeze the Arctic Foundation: "I am proud that we were able to facilitate this substantial donation to Herman Russchenberg’s research. A great example of how donations enable more research, education, talent development and entrepreneurship at TU Delft."
TU Delft climate action
As a climate university, TU Delft is fully committed to climate research and education through the Climate Action Programme. In the coming years, TU Delft is also working towards a CO2-neutral, circular and climate-adaptive campus, with a focus on improving biodiversity and quality of life. The TU Delft Campus will become sustainable and act as a living lab for sustainability solutions. Experiments for new sustainable techniques and processes will be carried out all over the campus. The climate action at TU Delft is not going unnoticed. On 26 October 2022, it was announced that TU Delft ranks 23rd in the World University Ranking Sustainability 2023, 10th in Europe and first in the Netherlands.