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The progress of the Petrel project, the new Argentine base on the Antarctic Continent

Lieutenant Colonel Martín Sakamoto, head of the base, provided details about this initiative that will allow it to modernize its facilities and facilitate our country's logistical operations in Antarctica.

27 de August de 2023 07:13

Petrel: The path to becoming the multimodal gateway to Antarctica.

The Petrel Joint Antarctic Base , located north of the Antarctic Peninsula, is projected as a strategic scientific facility because it will have a dock and two landing strips that will allow air and sea access to the continent. These facilities will allow the arrival of polar ships , warnings and even an icebreaker.

Lieutenant Colonel Martín Sakamoto, head of Petrel , says that the project consists of developing a joint and permanent Antarctic base with logistical capabilities that allow compliance with the regulations of the national Antarctic policy.

Furthermore, he explains that this is going to be a multimodal gateway to Antarctica because it will have two accesses: one by sea (which will operate throughout the year at any time during the Antarctic campaign) and another by air, something that distinguishes it from the current gateway to Antarctica.

In other words, Petrel is going to become an exemplary base of the Antarctic system with a permanent gateway to logistical support, science and research, and, obviously, to our permanent and temporary Antarctic bases and refuges.

In the summer, thanks to the effort and work of the staff, and complying with all environmental protocols, the old facilities of the old Petrel house, destroyed after the fire it suffered in 1974, were recovered, cleaned and sanitized.

Sakamoto also said that they are currently working on the construction of a modular residential house. The work carried out by the Joint Antarctic Command with the Ministry of Defense is very important, through an inter-administrative agreement with the company Tandanor .

To date, this company is responsible for the physical construction in Buenos Aires and it is planned that at the end of the winter campaign and beginning of the summer campaign, when the environmental impact assessment is approved, the house will be transported by naval means. through the navy ships that participate under operational control of the Coco Antar and are loaded in the polar warnings, be it in the San Carlos Strait or in the Malvinas Islands and on the icebreaker Almirante Irízar, Petrel's home.

Sakamoto tells us that this is going to be a very important house that will have a covered area of 2,244 square meters . A modern house, which, in his opinion, is going to be one of the most modern in the International Antarctic System, noted to alternative energies. In its first moment, it will house 60 people so that throughout a whole year they can live in that place and, in the summer, as the number of people increases, it will eventually house 150 people.

Throughout the 2023 summer campaign, numerous operational and logistical tasks were developed to be able to advance with everything that was reflected in the Antarctic annual plan and follow the guidelines drawn up by the joint command (Courtesy Martín Sakamoto)

Throughout the 2023 summer campaign, numerous operational and logistical tasks were developed to be able to advance with everything that was reflected in the Antarctic annual plan and follow the guidelines drawn up by the joint command (Courtesy Martín Sakamoto)

A SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION

Throughout the Antarctic campaign of summer 2023, numerous operational and logistical tasks were developed to be able to advance with everything that was reflected in the annual Antarctic plan and follow the guidelines drawn up by the Joint Command

In Petrel, one of the largest photovoltaic solar panel fields in the Antarctic bases has been built (Courtesy of Martín Sakamoto)

We generate our own energy. We have installed two generating sets of one hundred and sixty KVA and we have reinstalled two generating sets of one hundred and thirty KVA in the auxiliary plant. At the same time, all the electrical installation had to be carried out so that these groups can supply and reach to each point where it is necessary to bring energy and install the electrical panels, terminals and what makes the electricity work. What we have achieved this year is a qualitative and quality leap. Maintenance has also been done on the radio communications network and the entire satellite link that allows us to communicate with the continent.

We have also successfully improved the obtaining, purification and redistribution of drinking water for human consumption at the Petrel base. Likewise, we have made a lagoon, apart from the one that was supplying us, and in this way we were able to prepare to face the winter.

Finally, Sakamoto spoke of a very important aspect. He says that in the summer they have built one of the largest photovoltaic solar panel fields that the Antarctic bases have.

He clarified that he believes it is the largest that the Antarctic bases currently have. Currently, they have installed 84 panels in total, a very hard job because each panel has a concrete base that must be built. It is planned that, in the summer , this field of photovoltaic panels, which is quite large, reaches 576 panels and in this way reduces the consumption of fossil fuel and transports so much fossil fuel to Antarctica.

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By Agenda Malvinas

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