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A High-Latitude Modular Autonomous Power, Control, and Communication System for Application to High-Frequency Surface Current Mapping Radars

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High-frequency, shore-based radars (HFR) collect hourly, real-time surface current data over broad areas of the coastal ocean and yield insights on time-varying circulation, predict oil spill trajectories, evaluate circulation models, and, in case of a spill, provide responders with real-time data on spill evolution. HFR requires 7.5 kWh/day of power, but the lack of power availability inhibits HFR use in Alaska. We developed a modular, autonomous remote power module (RPM) for Arctic environments. The RPM design facilitates setup and transport to remote sites using small vehicles, and it contains subsystems for power generation, satellite communications, and power performance monitoring. The subsystems are powered by a battery bank (with a 5-day power reserve) charged primarily by wind and solar and secondarily by a biodiesel generator. The RPM is a stand-alone device for long-term deployments. It minimizes permit issues associated with diesel generators and logistics costs associated with refueling and maintenance. Performance data from a prototype RPM setup in Barrow, Alaska, in fall 2010 is provided. The system is designed for high latitudes but can be modified for remote coasts elsewhere.

Keywords: CODAR; arctic; battery banks; communications; generator; high-frequency radar; instrument enclosures; ocean currents; power; remote power; solar; wind

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-05-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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