Improvements over Halley V

Although the possible carving of the ice shelf provided the impetus for the building of Halley VI, it also provided an opportunity to improve the station in many other ways.

One of the major aims of the Halley VI project was to minimise the environmental footprint of the station. To achieve this the new station makes use of the latest technology, such as a bio-reactors for sewage treatment and two-stage incinerators for the clean burning of certain types of waste. Because of the station’s remote location it will still depend on reliable diesel generators for power and heat, but the power generation infrastructure has been designed to allow for the subsequent incorporation of renewable energy sources. Solar-thermal and photovoltaic cells systems have been designed that can supplement the supply during the busy austral summer, when power usage is at its peak (because of the increased number of people on site).

The Halley VI Energy Modules
Close-up of the Halley VI Energy Modules and Melt tanks.

Another goal of the new design is to reduce the annual maintenance that is required just to keep the base up and running. At present the jacking of the main buildings and associated structures is a labour intensive task that takes a team of steelworkers and welders more than two months to complete. The jacking system on the new modules uses computer controlled hydraulic rams that will significantly decrease the time and manpower required. The melt tank which provides the station’s fresh water has been relocated onto the surface so that it can be be filled mechanically by bulldozer. This has dramatically reduce the manpower required compared to the old system: a sub-surface tank connected to a narrow chute, which must be filled manually each day. The overall water requirement has also been reduced by introducing vacuum toilets and water-saving taps and showers. Other areas such as refuelling and cargo handling have been streamlined to save time and physical effort.

Scale models were tested in wind tunnels to understand how snow would accumulate around the structures.

As well as a place of work it is important to remember that the station is also home to the BAS staff living and working there. The wintering staff spend many months completely isolated from the rest of the world so it is important that the base is a comfortable, pleasant place to live and includes adequate social and recreational facilities. The sleeping accommodation at Halley VI includes larger bedrooms and greatly improved sound insulation compared with the current station. The central module, which includes the majority of the stations social areas, consists of a double height module with a large east-facing window to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and provide panoramic views across the ice shelf.

The Removal of Halley V ยป