Fuel Cell Systems Ltd delivered assembled fuel cell units to power essential communications equipment on the Antarctic island of South Georgia.
The island of South Georgia is a challenging environment, with a 3000m mountain chain across the centre, low temperatures, frequent snowstorms and severe winds. The project required multiple line-of-sight 12V / 108 W radio transceivers, two of which were sited high up on the mountainside, inaccessible except by helicopter. The extreme weather conditions made wind turbines and solar panels unsuitable for dependable power.
Fuel Cell Systems supplied two EFOY Pro 2400 fuel cells, in rugged all-climate enclosures, with methanol fuel to provide more than 100 days of power without maintenance.
Reliable radio communications enabled regular logged position and situation reports from the helicopters, essential for ensuring safety in this potentially hostile environment. It also permitted weather reports from around the island to be exchanged and allowed logistics from the main base to support those in the field.
The Habitat Restoration Project
Native petrel, prion and pipit populations had been devastated by brown rats and other rodents, who arrived as stowaways on whaling and sealing ships from the 18th century onwards. Rats eat the eggs and chicks of many ground nesting bird species.
The South Georgia Heritage Trust instigated the ‘Habitat Restoration Project’ to save the native ecosystem by eradicating rodents, using the helicopters to spread bait. The entire island was successfully baited and birds are already returning to areas where they had previously not been seen in living memory.
Clean and green energy
Fuel cell power is ideal for remote, off-grid applications as the units are highly efficient with minimal emissions. They also offer almost silent operation. This gives a real advantage when wishing to minimise the environmental impact of any field work.
“The perfect deep field solution for powering reliable safety communications in the sub Antarctic”
Rob Webster, Deputy Project Director at South Georgia Heritage Trust.