Automated hydrogen production and storage at Sky Blu logistics hub

The iX competition, delivered by the Innovate UK KTN (KTN), is supporting the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to identify solutions to innovation challenges. This current challenge relates to the need to replace the existing fossil fuel at the Sky Blu Logistics hub on Antarctica with hydrogen. BAS would like to explore novel systems that automate the production and storage of zero carbon hydrogen at Sky Blu.


Challenge opens


Challenge closes



Successful applicants will have the opportunity to connect with British Antarctic Survey and assess the viability of hydrogen production capability in extreme environments.


UKRI 2040 Net Zero Carbon Target
BAS delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistical capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. BAS is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Sustainability is a key driver in the modernisation of all BAS facilities, with a target set for all buildings to be designed and operating at net-zero carbon by 2040 (UKRI Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020).

Sky Blue Logistics Facility in the British Antarctic Territory.

Sky-Blu (74° 51’ 23” S   71° 35’ 13” W) is an area of blue ice situated close to Sky-Hi Nunataks (800 miles from the Rothera research station) suitable for use as an ice runway for wheeled aircraft. It is used as a logistics facility, allowing BAS aircraft to refuel before moving on to research stations. In support of the runway, there is a small camp which comprises a “melon” hut together with several tents, a garage, food depot, radio aerial, toilet facility etc.

The site is unmanned for 9 – 10 months a year. Weather at the site is very sunny, solar hours have not been recorded. It is also very windy, with wind speeds of 0 to 30m/s. Temperatures are below zero degrees all year round.

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