~e; Fwd: milling antarctic wind
brian carroll <email@example.com>
Thu, 13 Sep 2001 20:44:42 -0800
[please ignore if it is too much right now to deal with EM
technologies. i saw this article and wanted to forward it
for those interested in a unique experiment in polar wind
machines for powering base camps for researchers...]
Wind Power From Way, Way Down
By Stewart Taggart
2:00 a.m. Sep. 11, 2001 PDT
From Wired News, available online at:
SYDNEY, Australia -- It's windy and about as far from a power grid as
you can get. It's Antarctica ‚-- and it could be ideal for wind power.
Over the next year and a half, Australia plans to build three
300-kilowatt wind turbines at its Mawson research station, the
biggest wind power complex ever built on the continent. It will
provide a major testing ground for ramped-up alternative energy in
the toughest environment on earth.
"Turbines have never been installed in such a windy and cold place
before," says Peter Magill, project chief engineer for the Australian
Antarctic Division. "This will be a whole new ballgame for the
Mawson sits on a roughly quarter-mile square promontory of exposed
rock on the very edge of the Antarctic continent. It's on the
receiving end of "katabatic" winds flowing virtually uninterrupted
down the ice fields to the sea from the center of the continent.
"From nearly 3,000 meters in altitude (9,000 feet) at the South Pole,
the katabatic flow is like a river," says Dave Adams, project leader
for PowerCorp in Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory, the
contractor that will install the units. "Mawson sits right in the
path of its flow."
The three turbines to be installed at Mawson will be built by Bremen,
Germany, wind turbine manufacturer Enercon, and specially modified
for Antarctic conditions. These will include special metals for the
deep cold, and sealing off sensitive parts to guard them against the
fine, wind-driven snow of the Antarctic.
Mawson's energy demand is about 700 kilowatts, split equally between
electricity and heating, Magill said. Since the three turbines
together have a capacity of 900 kilowatts, they could satisfy all the
station's energy needs under ideal conditions, he said.
However, the turbines normally shut down when winds hit 65 mph or
more. Wind speeds at Mawson have been recorded as high as 150 mph,
making it one of the windiest places on the Antarctic continent,
Magill said. Under normal circumstances, however, Mawson's average
wind speed is 27 mph.
Later this year, foundations will be dug for the three turbines. The
turbines themselves will be installed in January or February 2003.
After that, the key will be to see just how much of the station's
power the turbines can provide. At present, Mawson's generator burns
about 700,000 liters of diesel fuel per year. This must be shipped in
and offloaded from supply ships to the station through hoses that
sometimes spill fuel into the ocean.
"If we can reduce the diesel resupply needs of the station down to
every four to five years, rather than every one year as at present,
we can reduce those risks of oil spills and pollution," Magill said.
Mawson houses up to 50 scientists during the Antarctic summer and
about 20 during the winter. Australia also maintains two other
similarly staffed stations on the Antarctic mainland, called Casey
and Davis stations. Australia also operates a research station on
Macquarie Island, located roughly midway between Antarctica and the
southern Australian state of Tasmania.
Mawson's windmills, when they're finally up and running in 2003, won't
be the first on the continent. Since 1985, a 3-kilowatt wind turbine
has been powering communications gear at Black Island, a
communications station 20 miles from the U.S. research base at
Germany has a 20-kilowatt turbine at its Neumayer Station, and a
10-kilowatt wind turbine has been in operation at Casey for about the
past five years, Magill said.
But the three wind turbines together providing up to 900 kilowatts of
power brings the scale of alternative energy on the continent into an
entirely new realm.
Copyright (C) 1994-2001 Wired Digital Inc. All rights reserved.
fair-use.edu ~e.org 2001
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brian thomas carroll the_electromagnetic_internetwork
electromagnetic researcher matter, energy, and in-formation
electromagnetism / infrastructure / civilization