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Home » Preparedness

How To Make Ice Without Electricity From Water and Fertilizer

Submitted by on February 7, 2012 – 8:02 pm 39 Comments
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I have a confession to make.

I am now officially addicted to Jericho.

Some friends of ours let us borrow their Jericho: The First Season DVDs, and Jerry and I could NOT stop watching. Seriously, we had a five hour movie marathon over the weekend, both of us completely enthralled into the wee morning hours.

FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT people! That’s more tv than I normally watch in a month!

It’s a good thing we only had the first two discs, or it would have been bad for everyone.

Something I saw them do in one of the episodes especially peaked my curiosity… a man was dying with a horrible fever, there was no electricity so they had no ice; a teacher remembered a science experiment which created ice from water and fertilizer, and was able to create a block of ice in time to cool the man off.

That’s awesome! I thought out loud. I wonder if that would really work?

After doing some digging, I found the instructions. Now, keep in mind that I have not tried this yet, so I can’t vouch for its credibility… but it’d be cool to try.

Here’s how it’s done

You’ll need:

  • water
  • Ammonium Nitrate (a fertilizer made up of a 50/50 mixture of ammonium and nitrate; found at farm and garden stores)
  • a bucket or large bowl
  • a smaller metal bowl (small enough to fit inside the other container)


Mix equal parts water and fertilizer in a bucket or a large bowl, till dissolved. Next, carefully place the smaller metal bowl half filled with water in the bucket. (Note: it must be a metal bowl, plastic will not work.) The bowl of water will freeze, though it takes several hours from what I’ve read.

If this works, not only would it be an awesome science project for the kiddos, but would also be a potential life saver if you were ever in a situation where you’d lost power and desperately needed to cool something/someone off.

I’m totally putting this on my list of things to try!

So, what do you think? Would it work, or am I too gullible? I’d love to know if any of you have ever tried this before!



  • Lisa says:

    I just recently came across your website and this article. If a person wanted to do a science experiment such as this, what brand of fertilizer would work? Are there any particular brand that you can recommend? How does someone find out if a particular brand of fertilizer has 50/50.

  • kirk says:

    Something I saw them do in one of the episodes especially peaked my curiosity…

    peaked = piqued.

  • Anonymous says:

    It “piqued” your interest. Not “peaked”.

  • Other ideas says:

    An idea I heard about was getting solar panels, and other supplies for survival and putting them in a faraday box. A faraday box is an emp protective box for electronics. If you put solar panels and circuits needed for setting them up, then in case an emp/nuke went off and you survived, you could have power and some electronics… But always a good idea to know where your local underground aquifer is and to have a few well placed stashes…

  • CPrep says:

    Just a few shows and movies that i found interesting reguarding post apocalyptic and apocalyptic nature and survival situations. Though you have to take some parts and leave others far behind you from each there are still some interesting facts that have been hidden in these shows.


    The Walking Dead

    The Colony




    Evacuate Earth

    Surviving Disaster

    Falling Skies


    Doomsday Preppers

    After Armagedon

    America Blackout



    20 Years After

    I am legend

    28 Days later


    The Happening

    Water World

    The Post Man

    Red Dawn

    The Book Of Eli




    The Day After Tommorrow

    The Host

    The Road

    War Of The Worlds

    World War Z


    Some of these shows and movies are far fetched and way off base but at the same time there are little survial tips mixed in with the garbage. Hope the list is enjoyed and my apoligies if some dont share my views reguarding this list.

  • Chris says:

    Found this thread because I’m making a solar powered ac, it requires ice, so I got to I king. How can I make ice without electricity. Thanks all

  • Tabitha says:

    Would it be Okay for me to use this as research for my project? We have to write a research paper about the topic we are doing and I would love to be able to use this! I wouldnt be quoting it exactly in the final draft, just a few facts here and there.

  • Tabitha says:

    I also LOVED Jericho and that is what made me want to do this for the science fair at my school because few people at my school have even watched Jericho so no one else would he doing it. Thank you SO much for the info it’s has helped me so much!

  • Timi says:

    Hi Kendra. I love Jericho and revolution. But if you want survival shows try walking dead. Love Love Love this show. It will make you think. Also like your blog

  • Marcie says:

    Jericho ran for two seasons and I miss it. Revolution is awesome as well. I actually found this site doing a search due to what I had seen on Jericho. I wanted to learn it for SHTF and disaster planning since I have meds that need to be kept cold. Thanks guys

  • Cory says:

    This is basically how instant cold packs work. The outer bag is filled with ammonium nitrate and the inner bag is filled with water. When you squeeze the pack you break the inner bag and the water mixes with the ammonium nitrate, making the pack cold. Just pick up an instant cold pack next time your out, you can knock this off or your things to try list.

  • Adam says:

    This is awesome, thanks for the info. I’m going to try the experiment and watch Jericho.I don’t really like Revolution though.

  • jc davis says:

    Oh that’s just horse poop. Use horse or cow poop mixed with human pee you got the mix. Use a clay pot on the outside. Wet it on the outside and set it in the sun. cover the top with a cloth. works in a few hours. Seen this on youtube. They used wet sand. With the right mix it would get much colder. However one could not expect to get enough ice to store food for the winter. That’s what id like to find.
    By the way, Its nice to see people acting like adults as all the posters here have done. cheers

  • Anonymous says:

    ha ha i love jericho too and wish i had fertilizer

  • Jake says:

    I was considering doing this for my insulator project at school, until I read in the description that it could end up burning down my school(or blowing up everyone in the room) so I decided against it.

    • Really, Jake?? That’s pretty crazy. I wonder if that’s a real possibility.

    • WN Lucas says:

      While dry there is a minimal risk of combustion of ammonium nitrate in the event of a static electricity discharge. That is a highly remote chance of unintentional ignition. Once mixed with water, that possibility is reduced to nil. In an unsealed container, ammonium nitrate will extract water from the air at an ambient humidity over 60%, again minimizing toward precluding the possibility of unintentional combustion. Short of intentionally sparking or exposing anhydrous (dry) ammonium nitrate to flame, the possibility of spontaneous combustion is nil. Otherwise, instant cold packs would be exploding and burning down pharmacies on a regular basis.
      It would appear the warning was exceptionally overstating the possibilities. That being said, always ensure every reasonable precaution when dealing with even the most benign chemical compounds and reactions.

  • Cameron says:

    Wow it’s so funny how everyone is on here cause of the ice trick on jericho but the only reason I put more thought in it is cause they have ice cubes on revolution just like somebody else had posted

  • royboy says:

    LOVE THE SHOW. that is actually why i was looking it up. and found this thread. it got me to thinking. what if….. tomorrow, im going to look for literature on just those type of experiments. any suggestions?

  • Jason says:

    Its funny that everyone is mentioning Revolution. Thats why I am looking for ways to make the ice with out electricity. They have cubes of it on the show for their drinks.

  • Vern says:

    How many seasons did Jericho run? We just found it on Netflix and love it!!!

    As for Revolution… I was praying that my power would go out when I watched the pilot. It was horrible!!! Nothing realistic about it whatsoever. I haven’t tuned in since the pilot.

  • TekServer says:

    Any thoughts on the new show, “Revolution”? I couldn’t help but be reminded of Jericho when I watched the pilot.


  • Howard says:

    Very nice, I will be sure and try it.

  • Daniel says:

    Jericho is on netflix too now. Totally will work, but like Lynda and ann said, you’ll have a tough time finding it, or will be required to leave your info- because it can be mixed with diesel (although many additives have made this much more difficult since there is a few ‘crazies’ out there) to make a bomb. By itself and with water it is relatively safe. It creates an Endothermic reaction (a reaction that eats up heat to perpetuate itself) which causes the water to freeze. There are a couple other ways to do this as well. Same basic set-up thought. Isolate your water to be frozen (in a stainless or, copper or, aluminum or, brass container) and place that one in a endothermic situation (another container that will absorb heat away from the first container). P.S. make sure you don’t make a battery with two different metal containers- your experiment could turn violently exothermic (gives off large amounts of heat- catches fire or blows up.) have fun.

  • ann says:

    bad thing is, the government won’t let anyone sell the amonium nitrate unless you have 24 hour surveliance. We always used it to disolve ice on the steps and in our garden. Now thanks to our government, here is another thing the “normal people” can’t have to use.

  • Emily says:

    Haha. When I saw the title of your post my first thought was – wow just like on jericoh…

  • Lynda says:

    I believe if you add deisel to that fertilizer you’ve made yourself a bomb…be careful. And I love Jericho…I have all the episodes.

  • Tiffani says:

    My husband and I LOVED Jericho! We were so upset when it was canceled. It was such a good show.

  • Suz says:

    Yeah it will work…but you have to buy the fertilizer..stuff I don’t use or have around

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