Friday, November 4, 2011

A Walk Around Camp: Power

We need electricity in camp. Microscopes, centrifuges, fume hoods, lights, cameras, radios, computers, microwave oven, and the infamous coffee (dribble)maker use it. How do we make electricity here? Three sources: (1) solar, (2) wind, (3) diesel. Back in the 80's we only had a diesel generator, and we burned about 10 barrels of fuel each season. With improvements in alternative energy technology, we're down to burning 2 barrels. We do more science than ever before, yet have reduced our carbon footprint dramatically.

Solar Panel

Wind generator

The power system at camp centers around a box full of batteries. The electrical input (solar when it's sunny, wind when it's windy, diesel when it's neither) is stored in these batteries, and a computer system ensures that the proper current is delivered.

It all takes a lot of legwork, though ...


  1. Great post! It's nice to know that people are using solar power, I certainly would if I could! My husband wants us to get a diesel generator for back up power, but I would rather get something more Eco-friendly.

    What do you eat in the Antarctic? Does the solar energy do anything to support hydroponics or cold weather indoor greens? I am interested in weight of the daily foods people in the Antarctic eat. I don't care about how much your bodies weigh (which is not prevention) but in how much is consumed by weight, since the stores sell foods by weight. My idea is to write so that I can help people in elementary schools and college and scientists who get suckered into competitive eating know a range of weight to eat. I want to know if people can be healthy with foods in climates as forbidding as the Antarctic. My sister lives in Zone 2 in Minnesota.

  3. Informative blog. I think renewable energy is much betters then others. Electricity is a daily use thing this world to its quite good to use natural sun light to produce electricity.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. It's helpful.