Going Green in Greenland
Sep 2, 2008 | Run Time: 05:33
NSF's Summit Station, Greenland, is one of the most remote research stations on Earth, situated in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet. At 10,000 feet in altitude, on top of two miles of ice in the very heart of the vast Greenland ice sheet, it's home in summer to as many as 60 support staff and researchers, studying snow, ice and climate change. Flying in fuel for generators for heating and electricity - "summer" night-time temperatures fall as low as minus 40 - is both expensive and polluting: the planes use a gallon of fuel for every gallon they deliver, and fumes from their engines, the station generators and traditional snow machines can interfere with experiments. Over the past few years, the station has been implementing many green strategies similar to those appropriate for more temperate environments - plus a few unique to Summit: replacing incandescent light bulbs; encouraging scientists to walk or ski; using waste heat to melt ice for drinking water and to warm buildings. In 2007, a new wind turbine is being tested, and a prototype electric snowmobile is in use, the latter a winner in a contest for student engineers. In "Going Green in Greenland", researchers say they think wind and solar could provide 75% of the station's needs in the future... and that if Summit - in such a challenging environment - can reduce its use of fossil fuels, it should be possible anywhere on Earth.