> Home

OBJECTIVE

PolarPower.org is funded by the National Science Foundation with the goal of providing a useful working resource for researchers in choosing, designing, implementing, and maintaining remote power systems in polar environments. This site allows the polar research community to establish a foundation of knowledge, share experiences, and stay current on technological developments. NSF OPP Division of Arctic Sciences
TECHNOLOGIES FOR REMOTE POWER APPLICATIONS

This section offers basic information regarding the various technologies available for remote power systems and their applicability for both small and large implementations, as well as practical information regarding choosing, designing, and implementing them.

The content draws on the design and field experiences of both VPR's team of experts and the polar research community. This information is presented as white papers, product reviews, and (in the future) engineering calculators.

The basic technology sections are:
Icon Definition
icon engine Engine - Internal combustion engines are a proven technology used worldwide. A wide selection of fuels is available, depending on the application.  link
Fuel cell icon Fuel Cell - A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. The process is clean, quiet, and efficient. A byproduct of the process is water, however, which can be a problem for deployments in a polar environment. The technology is still in its infancy, but commercial products are becoming available.  link
Hydro icon Hydroelectric - Small scale turbines can provide a source of electricty at sites where water can be found in a liquid state for at least part of the year.   link
Solar icon Solar Electric (Photovoltaic) - Cells made up from two or more layers of semiconductor material can produce electric power when excited by photons. The sun is a major source for such photons, but the process also works for other sources of light. Cells may be stacked into arrays to meet different voltage and power requirements.  link
Storage icon Storage - Primary and rechargeable batteries are often used as a site's sole source of power or in conjuction with one or more of the available power generation technologies to provide a reservoir of continuous power to the load. Flywheels and ultracapacitors are new technologies that are finding their way as a replacement for rechargable batteries.  link
Wind icon Wind - Wind-powered turbines are a clean source of power. Special problems arise with a moving mechanical device in polar regions prone to ice formation and high wind velocities. Mounting structures also provide challenges for systems that may be located on ice fields well above solid ground.  link

TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYMENT EXAMPLES

This section provides brief descriptions of systems that have been deployed in the polar regions and some basic information of the specifics of the technology deployed. Links to responsible agency sites are often provided to facilitate a deeper exchange of information for others interested in deploying similar technology.

View Technology Deployment Examples

SUPPORTING TECHNOLOGIES

Other technologies, not directly related to power generation and energy storage, are useful in the development and deployment of systems in polar environments. Some examples (still in preparation) are:

Icon Definition
Communications icon
Communications – Overviews of systems that are available for voice and/or data communications in high latitudes are presented. Geostationary satellite systems can be used up to about 74° latitude. Polar orbiting satellites extend the coverage to the poles, but at a degraded throughput. Terrestrial systems can extend communications connectivity where infrastructure might exist at inhabited sites.
Computer icon
Computers – Permanent and transitory systems are included. Full-time dataloggers are needed for the acquisition, storage, and transfer of measurement data. Low power single board computers applicable to more complex calculations, processes, and protocols are discussed. Measurements of power consumption for selected laptop computers are presented to allow users to make informed choices in this common tool used during field trips.
Deicing icon
Deicing & Ice Detectors – Techniques for keeping instrumentation and other components free from ice are described. Often, this includes information on electric heaters. To conserve energy resources at remote sites, it is useful to apply deicing techniques only when icing conditions exist. Instruments for measuring icing conditions are described.
Insulation icon
Enclosures & Insulation – Instrumentation and battery enclosures are critical in providing a controlled environment when ambient temperatures drop below equipment operational specifications. Information on foam and vacuum insulation systems is provided.
icon instrumentation
Instrumentation - The measurement of power consumption may take place in the lab or on-site. Some tools that have been found useful for measuring and logging power consumption are discussed.
timer icon Timers - Short duty cycles are often used to conserve battery power. Reliable, low power timers are needed in locations where more sophisticated dataloggers and computers aren't justified.
icon tower Towers, Anchors, & Hardware - Strong, lightweight structures are needed to support instrumentation, power sources, and antennas. Base conditions vary widely in the polar regions and approaches to hardware and anchors are shared.
Webcam icon Webcams - Once a day or continuous visual monitoring of a remote site can be useful in interpreting data reports. It is also of high value to pilots who use it for planning flights to these sights not normally supported by weather observations.

PAPER, PRESENTATION, AND POSTER

The following links will allow you to download information about PolarPower.Org suitable for handout or display.

Paper PolarPower.Org – Sharing knowledge about power systems for polar regions, Roy H. Stehle and Tracy Dahl, Arctic Energy Summit Technology Conference, Anchorage, Alaska. 17 October 2007.  227 kB, PDF.
Presentation PolarPower.Org – Sharing knowledge about power systems for polar regions, Roy H. Stehle and Tracy Dahl, Arctic Energy Summit Technology Conference, Anchorage, Alaska. 17 October 2007.  1,307 kB, PDF.
Poster PolarPower.Org – Sharing knowledge about power systems for polar regions, Roy H. Stehle and Tracy Dahl, European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria. 18 April 2007.  1,370 kB, JPEG, suitable for printing at 8.5 x 11 inches
Poster PolarPower.Org – Sharing knowledge about power systems for polar regions, Roy H. Stehle and Tracy Dahl, European Geosciences Union General Assembly, Vienna, Austria. 18 April 2007.  16,646 kB, PDF, original size of 36 x 60 inches.


The development of this site was a direct result of recommendations from the 1999 Autonomous Systems in Extreme Environments Workshop and the 2004 Renewable Energy Working Group Meeting/Workshop

NSF OPP Division of Arctic Sciences

Your comments or contributions are welcome.  Please e-mail them to info@polarpower.org


Looking for Polar Power, Inc.? They're at http://polarpowerinc.com.