How To Make Ice Without Electricity From Water and Fertilizer

I have a confession to make: I am now officially hooked 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)


  1. Mix equal parts water and fertilizer in a bucket or a large bowl, till dissolved.
  2. 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!

45 thoughts on “How To Make Ice Without Electricity From Water and Fertilizer”

  1. Hey everyone. Great notes and suggestions. I’m doing this as an experiment with my sons. I couldn’t find 50/50 fertilizer, I purchased a lower mix. Will that still work? I’m going to use cow manure too as a comparison.

  2. Well… it really worked… the ice making experiment… my brother did it … so it was quite cool… and thanku thanku for the interesting info…

  3. 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.

      • I have a general question: does anyone know HOW to make the necessary fertilizer without buying it? I mean..why aren’t they doing this in communities that lack refrigeration? Especially if ice can assist with breaking fevers and keeping some medicines viable.
        Since we are correcting each other, I thought I should point out:
        “his interest was at the maximum level…therefore peaked is apropriate”
        …HER his interest was at the maximum level…therefore peaked is APPROPRIATE.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

    • 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.


Leave a Comment