Reducing New Zealand's Antarctic Carbon-Based Fuel Usage
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
New Zealand's Scott Base and the USA's McMurdo stations share their logistical operations,with Christchurch as the gateway city. Fuel and other supplies arrive in the late summer byship. People and supplies are delivered throughout the year by air, mainly in spring, whenlarge wheeled aircraft can land. Liquid transport fuel, heating needs and electricitygeneration are mainly supplied by AN8 aircraft diesel fuel. This is expensive, producescarbon dioxide when burned and has environmental consequences if spilled.Considerable progress has been made at Scott Base in terms of fuel efficiency, heatconservation and renewable electricity generation from wind. However, more can be done.This review considers possibilities described in the literature and on the web with respect to:1. Liquid transport fuel savings, especially for flying to and from Christchurch. ReplacingNew Zealand's fifty year old Hercules C-130H turboprops with modern technologyoffers the greatest step forward. An extended aircraft range could wholly or partiallyavoid the need to refuel in Antarctica, with significant safety benefits as a bonus.2. More wind-powered electricity generation. This would benefit McMurdo more thanScott Base. It would be a valuable contribution overall to the joint logistical pool.3. The use of small-scale geothermal energy for heat pumps, if this is cost-effective.4. Further passive energy saving measures at Scott Base, together with improvementsin the efficiency with which diesel fuel is converted into useful heat and power there.5. The use of solar energy at the base and in the field. This is relatively minor, as solarenergy cannot be used for base-load needs, but the technology is advancing quickly.Small 'demonstration' investments, as a test-bed for new technologies, may also have merit.Although there are zero carbon dioxide emission summer-only stations elsewhere inAntarctica, this is not feasible for the year-round Scott Base and McMurdo stations. The bestthat can realistically be achieved is to improve fuel and other efficiencies, and to userenewable energy substitutes which are cost-effective, environmentally acceptable, robustand reliable in the harsh Antarctic conditions.
- Literature Reviews