University of Tasmania
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Renewable energy systems for the Australian Antarctic stations

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posted on 2023-05-27, 07:06 authored by Brown, CI
Large quantities of fossil fuels are imported each year to meet the electrical and thermal energy needs of Australia's scientific research stations in Antarctica. A significant part of this fuel, used by diesel generator sets, could be offset through the introduction of renewable energy systems. Reduced fuel usage would lead to savings in transportation time and costs, lower atmospheric emissions and reduce the risk of fuel spills. Research has been conducted to estimate the renewable energy resources of the four Australian Antarctic stations: Casey, Davis and Mawson and Macquarie Island. To achieve this goal, the following procedures were employed: 1. analysis of local meteorological records to identify the wind and solar energy resources; 2. identification and breakdown of station energy demands; and 3. modelling of renewable energy generation and storage systems to estimate potential fuel savings. Analysis of the wind energy potential indicated high resources for Mawson and Macquarie Island, while low resources for Casey and Davis. The solar energy potential was identified as being promising for the continental stations, with high exploitable levels estimated for the summer months. Field work to validate these results was initiated at Casey, including the installation of a 10 kW wind-turbine and a small photovoltaic panel linked with a pyranometer measuring solar insolation levels. Three renewable energy system configurations, envisaged to operate in conjunction with the current diesel generator system, were sized using estimates of each station's electrical energy demand. Configurations investigated include: 1. diesel displacement systems with renewable penetration limited to 40%; 2. renewables in conjunction with power conditioning equipment allowing full penetration; 3. battery storage systems; and 4. hydrogen storage systems. Mawson and Macquarie Island have been identified as the most promising sites. Electrical fuel consumption reductions of 24% and 30% are predicted at these stations for diesel displacement systems with wind turbines rated at 100 kW and 50 kW respectively. Higher fuel consumption reductions of 48% and 75% are predicted in full renewable penetration systems with wind turbines rated at 200 kW and 100 kW. Battery storage systems, beyond a role for power regulation, indicate minimal returns for large investments. A similar result was obtained for a fully integrated renewable energy system involving hydrogen storage. These results demonstrate that renewable energy systems would allow for substantial fuel savings if introduced to the Australian Antarctic Stations.


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Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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