May we present: Naue GlacierProtect

Naue GlacierProtect in action: Test field on the Stubai Glacier

Naue GlacierProtect significantly protects sensitive glacier areas from further thawing and considerably slows down glacier and snow melting. A test in the Austrian Alps showed a reduction in melting of about 4 meters over the three summer months of 2022 (test fields Stubai Glacier).

Sustainable Glacier Protection, Slope and Snow Management – How Geotextiles Counteract the Effects of Climate Change in Ski Areas

Whether in the Alps or other popular ski regions of the world, the panorama in ski areas is literally melting away. Global warming is causing glaciers to melt at record speeds. This alarming development is a concern not only for environmentalists but also for the winter sports and tourism industry, which seeks to prevent further melting of glaciers and ski slopes. However, there is good news: Naue GlacierProtect now offers a sustainable ecological solution. Made from renewable raw materials, GlacierProtect greatly conserves the environment during production, use, and disposal.

 If you want to experience a winter holiday with deep snow and perfect slopes, you need to hurry. In the Austrian Alps alone, the glaciers melted by ten percent in 2022. In other mountain regions, the trend is even more dramatic in some cases. UNESCO estimates that around a third1 of the glaciers analysed will disappear by 2050. However, glaciers are not only a valuable ecosystem, but also an important economic factor. According to Swiss winter tourism, the financial damage caused by climate change is enormous – and it continues to rise.

Preventive measures like glacier and snow coverings as a consequence

It’s no wonder that ski slope operators, hoteliers, and tourism associations are looking for ways to slow down glacier melting – such as with glacier coverings. These are usually made of films or non-woven fabrics that protect the snow from sunlight, thereby preventing melting.

The problem: “Many of these coverings are made of plastic. Abrasion from used non-woven fabrics, damage to the covering, or improper disposal can lead to pollution of the landscape and even the thaw water. Plastic particles enter the drinking water cycle and reach the seas through streams and rivers,” explains Dr. Helge Hoyme, Product Manager at Naue GmbH & Co. KG from Espelkamp. This is also known to the slope operators and environmental associations, who are open to new, more sustainable solutions.

Geotextiles for Sustainable Glacier Protection

This solution was developed by Naue. The family-owned company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of geotextiles, already successfully used for separation, filtration, and protection applications. With GlacierProtect, Naue is now expanding its range to include a solution specifically developed for protecting glaciers and use in so-called snow farming. The basis of GlacierProtect is Secutex® Green – a geotextile non-woven fabric successfully used worldwide in various projects. “Unlike traditional glacier coverings, GlacierProtect is one hundred percent biodegradable and, if unintentionally left in the environment, is completely converted into biomass, CO2, and water,” emphasizes Helge Hoyme. The CO2 released corresponds to the amount of CO2 previously bound from the environment during the plant growth phase. Another advantage: the non-woven fabric reflects 75 percent of solar energy, thus reliably reducing the thawing of ice and snow.

Versatile Applications

Particularly interesting for slope operators: Naue GlacierProtect, thanks to its naturally given UV resistance compared to conventional plastics, is ideal for snow farming and protecting particularly sensitive areas at the entry and exit of lift systems. Due to the rough structure of the non-woven fabric, the covering is much less prone to lifting from wind suction compared to smooth tarps or films. “Currently, even the most technically innovative product cannot stop climate change,” emphasizes the product manager. However, Naue GlacierProtect can effectively slow down glacier melting, and the solution is significantly more sustainable compared to traditional coverings. “We can only slow down global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and must deal with the consequences of a continuing increase in average temperatures. Our product solution can be a real contribution.”