Two HK engineers on Antarctic expedition

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 March, 2010, 12:00am

Two local engineers are on their way to Antarctica on a mission to fix the energy supply at a research base.

Sandeep Sharma and Priscilla Chang Lai-man, engineers with utility company CLP, and three fellow engineers from Australia and India are taking part in the carbon-neutral Inspire Antarctic Expedition 2010, which runs from March 5-14.

They left Hong Kong on Thursday and are now on board a ship crossing the Drake Passage, expecting to land on Antarctica on Wednesday.

They are tasked by the expedition organiser, 2041, which advocates the preservation of Antarctica, with setting up a solar panel and a wind turbine at E-Base, an education and research centre.

The centre is powered by renewable energy but the equipment was damaged by a storm last year. The five engineers plan to install two extra thin-film solar panels, of a different type to the existing silicon-based ones, so that they can find out which types of panel work best under the hostile conditions of the South Pole.

'We think it would be worthwhile to bring a different type of technology there and compare how they work under the extreme conditions of Antarctica,' Sharma said. They hope to bring the data back to Hong Kong and compare the performance efficiency of different technologies.

An energy audit of the centre will be done, and daily Antarctic temperature changes will be recorded. The team will also hoist the flags of their home countries - and dance with penguins.

Both Sharma and Chang are excited about the chance to experience climate change up close. The carbon equivalent of their expedition will be offset by the planting of trees.


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