British Antarctic Survey: decarbonising the energy supply at Antarctic research stations

BAS is using KTN’s Innovation Exchange to search for solutions to purchase to decarbonise its energy demand for heating, hot water and power at two of its island research stations – Bird Island and Signy.

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BAS operates several platforms to support research including three research stations in Antarctica and two on sub-Antarctic South Georgia. This challenge focuses on two – Bird Island and Signy – both of which currently rely on fossil fuels to meet the demands for power, space heating and hot water.  BAS is looking for solutions to decarbonise these energy demands, generating and delivering low carbon energy and having the least impact on an ecologically sensitive environment.

These stations are viewed as ‘life-support’ by BAS so the solution must be reliable, robust and easily maintained by non-energy specialists.  Bird Island is accessible only by ship and operates all year round.  There is no permanent snow but there is limited solar capacity and conventional wind turbine use is challenging, if not prohibitive, due to being one of the world’s richest wildlife sites.  It’s home to 50,000 breeding pairs of penguins and 65,000 pairs of fur seals.

Signy Island is a summer-only station.  It’s on the edge of the ‘ozone-hole’ with increased levels of UV light, is extremely windy and has very limited solar capacity.  Around half the island is covered by a permanent ice-cap and marine life is plentiful around the island which is a breeding site for seals and birds.


BAS is using KTN’s Innovation Exchange, an online platform that promotes innovation transfer, matching industry challenges to companies, often from other sectors. Submit your solution to the problem here.


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