A small, high-efficiency diesel generator for high-altitude use in Antarctica

Shane Hengst*, D. M. Luong-Van, J. R. Everett, J. S. Lawrence, M. C B Ashley, D. Castel, J. W V Storey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


We have characterised a small, high-efficiency diesel generator selected to power remote experiments on the Antarctic plateau at altitudes of up to 5000 m. We describe the design of an environmental chamber to simulate these high altitudes and present an experimental investigation of the engine operation at high altitude on Jet A-1, comparing this to the engine's performance at sea level. Although attention must be paid to the provision of adequate cooling, no modification to the engine itself is required. Our finalsystem provides very high reliability and produces 1500 W of electrical power with a fuel consumption of 280 g kWh -1. A bank of ultracapacitors is used to start the engine in the cold environment of Antarctica. We describe the low-temperature operation and survival tests that we performed on the ultracapacitors and the engine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-838
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


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