Researchers in the city of Aomori have begun to study how to generate electricity from snow, with the aim of securing a renewable energy source to cover potential power shortages.

The city of Aomori, which sees heavy snow every year, started a trial in a swimming pool at an abandoned elementary school in December to explore the feasibility of producing energy by utilizing the temperature difference between stored snow and the surrounding air.

In the joint project, local information technology startup Forte Co. and the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo are looking to power a turbine with energy produced when liquid cooled by stored snow is then vaporized by the heat of the surrounding air.