Development of an autonomous diesel power generation system for a high-altitude, remote astronomical facility for Antarctica

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Copyright: Hengst, Shane
Antarctic astronomy is becoming ever more popular due to the astronomical potential that the Antarctic plateau has to offer. An analysis of potential Antarctic dome sites is essential before the construction of large telescope facilities. Reliable power generation systems for isolated locations on the Antarctic plateau are optimal for remote site-testing facilities. There has been little published work, however, on remote power generation in Antarc- tica. This thesis reviews potential in-situ power generation sources, with emphasis on the diesel engine that was chosen for the University of New South Wales site-testing facility: PLATO (PLATeau Observatory). PLATO currently operates on the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, Dome A (4093m). A single-cylinder, naturally aspirated diesel engine (Hatz 1B30) was chosen to be the primary power source for PLATO throughout the win- ter months. A description of the design of an environmental chamber to simulate high altitudes on the Antarctic plateau is presented. An experi- mental investigation of the engine operation at high altitude on Jet A-1 with comparison to the engine’s performance at sea level is also presented. It was found that, although attention must be paid to provide adequate cooling, no modification to the engine itself was required. The selected engine power system provides very high reliability and produces 1500W of electrical power with a fuel consumption of 280g/kWh.
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Hengst, Shane
Storey, John
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