|System||Photovoltaic/wind hybrid with battery bank and portable generator back-up.|
|Location||West shoulder of Mt. Erebus, Antarctica ( 7 30 37.6 S 167 08 45.8 E 3347.31).|
|Description||The facility was built as a research camp for the study
of Mount Erebus, an active volcano with a molten lava lake in the
caldera. The peak of the mountain is another 1000 feet (340M) higher
than the camp, and within reasonable traveling distance. The Erebus
camp houses as many as 12 researchers for the austral summer season,
November – February, and collects data year round.
The power system for this camp consists of a 400-watt Air Industrial wind generator, operating year round, and 550 Watts of solar panels deployed in the summer only. Both charging systems feed into a large battery bank. Up to 4 kW of 120VAC power is available for use in the summer season for living and lab space, while DC loads are year round to support data collection and typically run 10-30 Watts. During the summer, scientists will often bring up a 5-kW gasoline generator to supplement the power system as necessary.
The battery bank has sixteen 125 AH, AGM type batteries, connected in 24 volt configuration to store an adequate amount of power between wind charging events during the long, cold winter. The battery bank is rated at nearly 1000 AH at 77’ F (25’C) , but is capable of storing only 300AH in more typical -30’F (-34’C) ambient temperatures. All charging circuits are temperature compensated to meet the needs of the cold batteries. Typically charging voltage is raised 0.03 volts per degree Celsius below the rating temperature.
Winter low temperatures often dip to -50’ F (-47’C), with wind speeds that can reach 90 MPH (45 m/sec). In addition to the extreme cold, the power system is challenged by the precipitation of salts from the volcano, which eventually coat the surfaces of solar panels and cover all wind equipment. The salts are slightly corrosive to electrical connections, which necessitates periodic cleaning of the solar panels. Due to these factors, and rime icing, the average life of deployed wind generators in this environment is 2 years and annual system maintenance is required.
|Data||Data not communicated from this site.|
|Comms||No communications devices are associated with this system.|