UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology measures greenhouse gases in remote places

To measure how greenhouse gas emissions from the land and water surface influence, and are affected by, global climate change, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) needs to position instrumentation in remote places. However there is often no power and the weather is harsh. 

After evaluating Leading Edge Power’s off-grid power systems, UKCEH decided on a bespoke off-grid solution to power the equipment. The Leading Edge Power solution was tailored to the research institute’s specific needs and importantly was robust enough for long periods of deployment in harsh environments, and was easy to install by their scientists in the field.

Flux Station in Cambridgeshire (c) Hollie Cooper
Flux Station in Cambridgeshire (c) Hollie Cooper

Flux Station in East Riding, Yorkshire (c) Simon Oakley
Flux Station in East Riding, Yorkshire (c) Simon Oakley

“Our instrumentation is mostly in remote and inaccessible locations so getting things in and out is difficult,” said Dr Ross Morrison, Biometeorologist at UKCEH.

One area of focus for climate change research looks at whether peatlands are still acting as carbon sinks or whether they are now releasing carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as a result of land use, and if so how much.  

The equipment is monitoring the exchange of greenhouse gases, energy and water between the land surface and the atmosphere using a mix of eddy covariance flux towers, greenhouse gas auto-chambers and weather stations with a continuous power draw ranging from 1 - 3 amps continuously.

Working closely with the Leading Edge design team, UKCEH were able to achieve a system that met their specific requirements. When designing a system, there are a number of features that can be added. These different options were presented with their associated cost points and UKCEH choose the best fit for the various installations. 

Power generation is from solar panels and, depending on the location, Leading Edge’s own robust wind turbines, with the resulting electricity stored in deep-cycle AGM batteries housed in IP65 enclosures. 

“Working with Leading Edge has been a positive experience in helping us find a solution for powering scientific equipment in remote locations and a solution that needs to be reliable and continue producing power throughout the whole year,” continued Ross

Each system has the option of being remotely monitored via a Web interface to check how the system is performing with the ability to receive alarm signals and change system settings. The enclosures also contain the control equipment, isolation switches, DC-to-DC conversion, fuses and low voltage disconnect.

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