An Investigation into Fuel Utilisation and Energy Generation in Antarctica
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Fossil fuels are the predominant source of energy in Antarctica. Most Antarctic stations, including Scott Base, are powered by conventional generator units and diesel boilers. In addition to the atmospheric pollution produced by the burning of fossil fuels, there are a number of environmental risks associated with transporting, distributing and storing fuels in the Antarctic. Fuel usage is also becoming increasingly expensive as fuel prices and transportation costs continue to increase. Energy efficiency practices can help reduce fuel usage but serious reductions can only really be achieved through the use of renewable energy. The potential for renewable energy use in Antarctica is high, but further technological advancements are needed to make large-scale renewable energy generation more practical for the Antarctic environment. Renewable sources such as wind and solar radiation, when used in combination with conventional energy generation, can significantly reduce a station’s energy requirements. For small-scale applications out in the field, renewable energy can sometimes provide almost all of the energy needs. Successful application of renewable energy on a large scale has been achieved by the wind farm at Australia’s Mawson station, following a long investigation process. The success of this application will hopefully encourage other Antarctic Treaty Nations to invest more time and money in renewable energy research.