Posted by Diana
Date: September 15, 2010
Temperature: -41.7 degrees C
Wind Speed: 5 knots
Temp with wind chill: -46 degrees C
Just over a year ago Antarctica New Zealand completed the installation of three wind turbines. These generate enough electricity for New Zealand’s Scott Base and some extra which is fed back over to McMurdo, the United States Base. They are beautiful and amazing pieces of technology, 39 meters tall with blades that span 33 meters.
Spring can bring some of the coldest weather in Antarctica and it seems the oil used to lubricate the moving parts in the turbines is becoming too viscous (thickening up). Hayden, one of our engineers, and Steve, our electrician, went over to the wind-farm to change the oil to something which would not be as effected by the cold. This job required climbing the ladder inside the wind turbine and working in the cramped space in the top of the turbine.
Looking down the tower © Antarctica New Zealand/Hayden
There was six litres of oil used – it took 7 hours for the oil to drain! The controls for the turbines (and all the systems used to keep Scott Base) are managed by Hayden’s computer at base. While Hayden was up the tower he was in constant communication by radio with base so he could issue instructions.
Cricket was “mouse” (rostered duty of answering phones and radio, etc) that day so we listened to it all as we worked in our toasty little lab back at base.