National Institute of Polar Research

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Polar Engineering Group

Follow-up of supporting technology for polar science observation

Leader  Hideaki Motoyama

Function of Polar Engineering Group

There are many technical challenges to overcome when we implement some researches in polar region. Also it is very important to use limited fuel, food, material etc. effectively because the means of transportation is hampered in polar zone. Nowadays it is required to reduce the impacts on the environment. In our group we address technical challenges associated with scientific observation and logistic activities.

Basic investigation for construction of building structure on ice sheet

Building structure on ice sheet in Antarctic continent is gradually inclined because of uneven settling of the building’s foundation due to snow drift developed around the building. For the purpose of preventing that trouble, a construction experiment of compacted snow foundation was conducted at Dome Fuji Station. The obtained data of the level change with time is of value for development of foundation on snow surface.

Investigation for on-site energy production

The fuel consumption at Syowa Station is increasing year after year due to expansion of the station and scientific observations. Hereafter, the stockpile of fuel is expected to be shaky as a tightrope because there is a limit on fuel transportation by ship. In order to improve that situation, we are making efforts to increase production of renewable energy like wind and solar power without depending only on fossil fuels. As part of the study, investigations like effective array and surface deterioration of PV panels are carried out.

A 20kW wind turbine started off providing electricity as an interconnected system with diesel and PV

Study on interconnected power system between diesel and renewable energy

The electricity generated by wind turbine and PV is fluctuant depending on wind speed and insolation condition. Technologies of interconnected power system between diesel and renewable energy are of great interest, and we are exploring the methods considering conditions of polar region.

Study on storage and utilization system of surplus power

When we obtain surplus power derived from renewable energy, we could harness the energy effectively if the redundant energy was not racked up and stocked. Organic hydride is one of the method of hydrogen storages and an appropriate technology for polar region because the substance is stocked hydrogen as an antifreeze liquid. On the other hand, heat storage technologies of sustainable energy are developed and close to practical use in the nation. We are searching those technologies in cooperation with researchers of universities and private companies.

Study on making water

Snow melting is employed for domestic water supply at Syowa Station now, but requires an enormous amount of energy. On the other hand, employment of reverse osmosis membrane method by utilizing sea water near Syowa Station offers two big benefits. The energy consumption decreases and work force of casting snow blocks into water tank is excluded. Studies on temperature control of water pipeline and sea water pumping are conducted.

Development of unmanned observation system

The unmanned operations save impact of CO2 and energy in polar region compared with manned operation. We have developed high reliability robot observation system based on satellite system. We will try to use unmanned aerial vehicle and small energy generator systems.


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