Going to extremes – the South Pole!

It is not often that you can claim to have your products used on every continent in the world – including Antarctica – however Tritium is privileged to be able to make this claim after working with the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia.

In early January 2012, a team from the astrophysics department at UNSW travelled to the South Pole to install a highly-specialised telescope and observatory platform that would take advantage of the special Antarctic atmospheric conditions and hopefully gain new insight into how stars are formed in our galaxy. Due to the remote location, the telescope and observatory needed to operate for at least 12 months continuously without any human intervention on-site.

The research team needed solutions that could withstand the extreme environments and operate reliably throughout the year.

To meet the power requirements of this equipment, the observatory used a large lithium-ion battery pack as well as multiple diesel generators.  Two Tritium products were used as part of this system:

  1. a WaveSculptor22 to accurately and efficiently control each diesel generator and
  2. the IQ BMS to maintain the lithium-ion batteries.

Whilst the WaveSculptor22 is primarily used to set the load on the generator and control the state of charge on the batteries, it also has the added bonus of providing a high-power, high-efficiency starter motor for ‘free’ by operating the permanent-magnet generator as a motor.

The starter motor on the diesel generator is driven by a WaveSculptor22


The IQ BMS installed in the lithium-ion battery pack.



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