This week at Davis: 22 April 2016

At Davis we prepare vehicles for winter, make electricity and then take time to watch a game after work

Electric avenue

So after an amazing ten days of eating Aaron Stanley’s 10 kg ice cream birthday cake and enduring the diesel mechanics 30°C workshop powered by a kroll heater, the common question we get asked on station is, ‘how we do we generate electricity?’

Our main power house, the heart of the station, consists of four 140 kw Caterpillar diesel generators which supply electricity to the whole station via an extensive cabling system around station, and six ring main buildings commonly known to our supply officer (Jen) as ‘the little blue things’ as all the buildings on station with restricted access are coloured blue.

These generators not only supply power to the station but also supply the heating to the station. By harnessing the heat from the engines via heat exchangers the result is we are saving large amounts of energy that would have been required to produce our heating. We also have two boilers to supplement the additional heat needed during the cold winter months. By doing this we minimise our footprint on the environment and preserve this beautiful part of the world called Antarctica.

If our main power house fails, we have an emergency power house which we can switch over to. However this has limited capacity and we would have to connect additional generators around station to keep all the buildings operational.

Expeditioner enjoying a piece of ice cream cake
Aaron enjoying the last piece of his 10 kg ice cream cake…
(Photo: Vas Georgiou)
Expeditioners changing out a bearing in the alternator in the main power house at Davis
Paul Deverall, Vas Georgiou and Chris Burns changing out a bearing in…
(Photo: Vas Georgiou)
Main power house control room at Davis
Main power house control room
(Photo: Vas Georgiou)
Main power house engine room generators at Davis
The main power house engine room generators
(Photo: Vas Georgiou)
Ring main unit which distributes power across the station
The ring main units distribute power across station via the power house…
(Photo: Vas Georgiou)

Winter has come

The all Queenslander dieso team have been working tirelessly winterising all the machines not needed over winter. Not the sort of stuff you’d think about back home, but snow in the cabin of machines can cause a few problems with the electrics letting the blue smoke out of the wires only being held in by that thin plastic cover.

Winterisation involves parking the machines with the prevailing wind to the back and in an area that wind keeps clear of snow. It also involves taping up the doors with duct tape which in itself isn’t fun. We fill the cabin of the machines with smoke to find out where the snow is going to get into the machine so we know where to seal them with tape.

Trying to stick tape to cold steel at -15°C doesn’t work all that well, so in some cases we needed to warm up the tape with a heater to stop the tape from ripping when cold. The steel also needs to be heated with a heat torch to make the tape stick. Then we put covers over exhaust pipes and motors, and lastly pull the batteries out - and the machine is now winterised.

Those machines being used need to be plugged into 240v powering heaters that keeps the engine warm and ready to go.

Winterised machinery lined up on the heli pad
Winterised machinery lined up on the heli pad - two cranes, a…
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
Mack truck loaded with small implements, parked at Davis for the winter
Mack truck with all the small implements so they donít get lost…
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
Back of the crane with blizzard cover over radiator and cap on the exhaust pipe parked back into the prevailing wind at Davis for the winter
Back of the crane with blizz cover over radiator and cap on…
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
Crane with taped up doors to stop the driving snow in blizzards getting in
Crane with taped up doors to stop blizz getting in
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
329D excavator parked up for the winter at Davis
329D excavator parked up for the winter
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
D6 dozer with snow banking up on it, parked at Davis for the winter
D6 dozer already getting blizzed in
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
D6 dozer motor beginning to get full of snow while parked up at Davis for the winter
D6 dozer motor beginning to get full of snow
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
Machines that will be used over winter plugged into the only tree on station - the power palm tree made of steel.
Machines that will be used over winter plugged into the only tree…
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)
Sunrise and the silhouette of the grove RT540E crane parked up on heli pad at Davis for the winter
Sunrise and the silhouette of the grove RT540E
(Photo: Michael Goldstein)

Home away from home

Since settling into the winter we have started to make a bit of a tradition of Friday night being a form of takeaway night which incorporates a game of footy in the bar on the TV. whether you are a supporter of the code of footy being played or not, it is still a nice way to relax and unwind from the week that was.

Thanks to Brett’s brainstorming we set the bar up as a mixture of a sportsbar and a comfy home lounge to give everyone an option while winding down.

Group of men watching football game on TV
Discussing the details
(Photo: Paul Bright)
A view of the mezannine floor in the Davis LQ showing the winter layout with bar and lounge suite
Bird's eye view
(Photo: Paul Bright)