PLATO Power-a robust, low environmental impact power generation system for the Antarctic plateau

Shane Hengst*, Graham R. Allen, Michael C. B. Ashley, Jon R. Everett, Jon S. Lawrence, Daniel M. Luong-Van, John W. V. Storey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) is the third-generation astronomical site-testing laboratory designed by the University of New South Wales. This facility is operating autonomously to collect both scientific and site-testing data from Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau, at an elevation of 4093m. We describe the power generation and management system of PLATO. Two redundant arrays of solar panels and a multiply-redundant set of small diesel engines are intended to provide 1-2kW of electrical power for a full year without refueling or other intervention. An environmental chamber has been constructed to study the high-altitude performance of the diesel engines, and suitable cold-starting procedures and engine lubrication techniques have been developed. PLATO's power system is an innovative solution with wide applicability to small astronomical facilities on the Antarctic plateau, offering minimum environmental impact and requiring minimal human intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-based and airborne telescopes II
EditorsLM Stepp, R Gilmozzi
Place of PublicationBellingham, USA
PublisherSPIE
Pages1-10
Number of pages10
Volume7012
ISBN (Print)9780819472229
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventConference on Ground-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II - Marseille, France
Duration: 23 Jun 200828 Jun 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
PublisherSPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING
Volume7012
ISSN (Print)0277-786X

Conference

ConferenceConference on Ground-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II
CountryFrance
CityMarseille
Period23/06/0828/06/08

Keywords

  • Diesel engine
  • remote power generation
  • Antarctica
  • Dome A

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