British wind turbines provide power in Antarctica

Eight 6kW wind turbines made by the Scottish company, Proven Energy are now supplying power to the Princess Elizabeth Station in Antarctica, which was officially inaugurated yesterday, February 15th 2009.

The turbines have to withstand temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius and winds of over 90 m/s. The station is the only polar base operating entirely on renewable energy. Until now, most stations relied on diesel generators because no wind turbines were thought to be robust enough for such extreme conditions.
The turbines will operate in average winds of 53 mph and winter gusts of over 200mph, while still providing 230V electricity for the stations heating, computers, lights and scientific instruments.
Previous installations have weathered ice storms in Slovenia and typhoons in Japan.
Richard Caldow, Operations manager at Proven Energy commented: “This is a great credit to our company that International Polar Foundation has chosen us to work with. They recognise the confidence others have in our technology which is a testament to our product.”

In addition to the turbines, both solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) panels will be used on the building itself. The water supply for the station will use solar thermal panels to melt the snow thereby limiting the use of electrical energy to pump water.

Tom Shelley

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