British Antarctic Survey: decarbonising polar vehicles

BAS is using KTN’s Innovation Exchange to look for solutions to help decarbonise the polar vehicles used at its Sky Blu Logistics Facility.

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BAS delivers and enables world-leading research in the Polar regions of the Arctic and the Antarctic to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet.  A component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), sustainability is a key driver in the modernisation of all BAS facilities: UKRI has a target set for all buildings to be designed and operating at net-zero carbon by 2040.

Sky-Blu is an area of blue ice 800 miles from the Rothera research station. Used as an ice runway for wheeled aircraft, it gives BAS aircraft the opportunity to refuel before moving on to research stations.  Unmanned for 9-10 months a year, the first job at the start of each summer season is to remove the snow drifts from the runway.  Skidoo and small vehicles are used as snow ploughs and use more than 16,000 litres of diesel a year.  BAS is looking for solutions to decarbonise these vehicles.  The solution should be capable of producing and storing energy on site and will need to cope with the weather conditions on site all year round.

BAS is open to any energy source including but not limited to; gaseous fuels, liquid fuels or electric power. The solution will need to cope with the weather conditions at the site during the operational months in the summer and the unmanned winter months.

BAS would expect the solution provider to offer advice on adapting the current vehicles to run on the low carbon fuel or to recommend new vehicles that would accept the low carbon fuel and be suitable for the environmental conditions.

Deployment timescales

Launch of the Competition: 14th September 2020
Deadline for applications: 23rd October 2020
Selection and notification of finalists: 13th November 2020
Pitch workshops: week commencing 7th December 2020

Solutions should be:

Fully deployable for prototype testing within 1 year of competition win.
Fully deployable commercially within 2 years

Market opportunity

BAS is looking for a solution to purchase. Due to the location of the logistics facility, maintenance and potentially installation of the system would have to be carried out by BAS themselves.

Entrants to this competition must be:

Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

BAS is using KTN’s Innovation Exchange, an online platform that promotes innovation transfer, matching industry challenges to companies, often from other sectors.  Innovators with solutions to either or both of these two tricky challenges can see more details and apply here.


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