Register to reply

Living in Antarctica

by derryck1234
Tags: antarctica, living
Share this thread:
Oct7-10, 07:47 AM
P: 56

First off, please do not laugh off my experiment, I just think that it would be cool to try. I am exploring the possibility of living in Antarctica completely off wind powered electricity. I have heard that Antarctica is the windiest continent, so, I assume there would be much power available.

The first thing I am to question is heating. I am not an electrical engineer, however, I completed first year engineering physics through the University of Cape Town, while studying Civil Engineering. Of course, I could go do research and do some hectic calculations regarding magnetism, electrical power output and the whole toot, but I am sure I can get better input regarding such a project from people who work with this everyday.

So, let me start by asking this:

1) Is is possible to heat a specially designed room/capsule (I already have my own ideas for shape, material etc for room) using electrical power obtained from wind turbines?
2) Of course, wind does not blow everyday, so, there would have to be a rechargable battery backup. Could a battery heat a specially designed room/capsule?
3) Bearing in mind, for three months of the year, Antarctica is -70 degrees celsius...:)


Derryck Bartlett
Phys.Org News Partner Engineering news on
A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific
Research project on accident-avoiding vehicle concluded
Smaller artificial magnetic conductors allow for more compact antenna hardware
Oct7-10, 01:23 PM
P: 595
Instead of the do-it-yourself route, maybe you should become a high-energy physicist and join this project:

I have a friend who has been down there are few times, but never asked how they get their power. Some research might lead you to answers. But as an alternate, think of the space program, where outside temps are in the -200's and power is photo-electric...this leads me to think that you might be able to wing-it in Antarctica too.
Oct7-10, 09:26 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 4,044
Have a look at this web site. It gives the weather at a number of Antarctic locations:
You can click on the names to get previous data.

It isn't very windy anywhere today, but they do have very windy days.
Last June 5th at Casey was a balmy -5.3C (22.5F) maximum but breezy at 206 kmh (128 MPH).

There are plenty of calculators for room heating on Internet (Google) and Antarctica isn't a lot different to some parts of North America in winter.

You could use some of the spare power to heat water which could be stored and then pumped around the room to radiators.

Room insulation quality and installation would be important and a system where people entering and leaving the room would first enter a smaller room to avoid too much heat being lost from the main room would be a good idea.

If you wanted a wild guess, ballpark figure for a very well insulated room 15 ft square, maybe 5000 to 10000 watts would be a starting figure. This would be beyond battery power and possibly beyond wind generators used without any storage system.

Oct7-10, 09:30 PM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
Living in Antarctica

Quote Quote by schip666! View Post
think of the space program, where outside temps are in the -200's...
Yes, schip666! has an idea there. Make wind turbines to power space stations.

Oct8-10, 05:22 AM
P: 56
Thanks guys. I am going to research water heating, this sounds interesting.

Of course, the major problem really would be building big enough wind turbines that would not fail due to 206kph winds:)

But, of course, something tried is something understood:)...or something like that:)

With respect to the whole space program thing, well that is just a little needs far more energy to make photo electricity than it would ever produce...this is not what I'm after...but then again...Antarctica, sun?

I shall keep the forum inFORMed:) Just in case I really do end up doing this...


Oct8-10, 05:26 AM
P: 326
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Yes, schip666! has an idea there. Make wind turbines to power space stations.

solar wind
Oct8-10, 05:37 AM
P: 2,195
Staying warm is one problem. Can I ask what you plan to eat?
Oct8-10, 08:36 AM
P: 56
Well, I thought of catching fish in the summer and storing them (for protein and fats). As far as vegetables and starch go, I thought I might be able to grow things using Sodium lights. But, the problem with this is:

1) The lights obviously require power
2) I would require quite a bit of space to do this, therefore, compromising my warmth...

Any suggestions? Or is my idea totally floored?

Oct8-10, 08:41 AM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
Quote Quote by derryck1234 View Post
Any suggestions? Or is my idea totally floored?
What exactly is your idea?

If you are experimenting with heating, then you don't need to subsist off the land; you'll bring stored, easily preparable food supplies.

So, you need to define the scope of your experiment. What is it about? Just as important, what is it not about?
Oct11-10, 12:49 AM
P: 56
Well Dave, I would say that it is not about a heating experiment. That is just an issue to deal with. The idea is to experience a wildly different World, share the experience with the whole world and to learn about myself/the environment in the process.

I plan to live there for three years, preferably by living off the land. However, I am aware that I could in fact simply bring food with me.
Oct11-10, 10:02 PM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
Quote Quote by derryck1234 View Post
I plan to live there for three years, preferably by living off the land.
Ah got it.

Sounds cool.

I have one thing you might want to consider.

This is a fairly risky undertaking. Going into to it well-researched and very experienced would be a great adventure. But going into it any less than well-researched and very experienced could be irresponsible - not only for your own safety - but the safety of any emergency personnel that might have to come to your aid if you run into trouble. Don't set yourself up as a liability.
Oct12-10, 02:47 AM
P: 56
Thanks Dave

I respect and have regard for your concern. Of course, I wish to be as thorough as I can be.

Finance is my only real issue. The best would be to hitch a ride with some or other ship. Of course, also just visiting Antarctica as many times as possible, to first get my bearings, would be the responsible action to take.

Even reading up on how people are currently living in Antarctica.
Oct12-10, 05:51 AM
P: 22,313
Quote Quote by derryck1234 View Post
Finance is my only real issue. The best would be to hitch a ride with some or other ship.
If you think getting to Antarctica is your biggest financial issue and "hitching a ride" is a meaningful solution, then you haven't put anywhere near a serious thought into this. Whether you think you are serious or not, this thread isn't and it isn't really EE. It needs to be if it is going to continue. This isn't a place to discuss... whatever kind of fantasy this is.
Oct12-10, 05:57 AM
P: 56
Okay, you got me. Of course I have not put everything required for the project into the happening.

I only started thinking about it last week. I have just been keeping it going through response, as such. You can shut it down as soon as anyone likes.
Oct12-10, 06:06 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 4,044
Here is a webcam site for Antarctica:
Click on the other webcams at the left. There is even one for Krill.

Note the huge wind driven generator behind the big red building.

Yes, it is a bit of a fantasy. You can't just go there, the wildlife is all protected and there is no vegetation or insects to eat.
Plus you'd freeze to death without a proper hut.

Save up and go as a tourist.
Oct12-10, 07:33 AM
P: 15,201
Or get a job there. There are low-level jobs at various bases in the Antarctic. Because there is a primitive appeal to the place, the people who fill those low-level jobs are incredibly over-qualified. Cooks with a bachelors and even masters degrees in a technical field, for example.

One of my coworkers spent a year at the South Pole station. His wife came home one day and said "I'm going to spend a year at the South Pole. Want to come with me?" The powers-that-be very much wanted her as a researcher, enough so that they took him along for the ride as a low-level research assistant to someone else. Had that job been stateside it would have been filled by someone with a bachelors degree, or maybe even an associates degree. He has a masters degree in engineering, and the competition was tough. He also applied to be a cook and a janitor as a backup plan.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Antarctica bedrock elevation Earth 0
More WAIS (W. Antarctica) instability? Earth 1
Antarctica Assignment Biology, Chemistry & Other Homework 3
Antarctica Everglades... Biology 1
What differentiates the living from the non-living? General Discussion 28