SWTs for arctic applications: powering autonomous rovers

Morten Hedelykke Dietz Fuglsang*, Robert Flemming Mikkelsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterEducationpeer-review


In arctic regions, small wind turbines (SWTs) fill an important niche for powering weather and research stations as well as telemetry in the dark winter months. This chapter revolves around another, rather unusual, use-case: using SWTs for powering autonomous rovers. Specifically, rovers are designed to roam the Greenland ice sheet, with the purpose of monitoring ice sheet conditions during the dark winter months, when PV is not an option. The chapter is based on a study assessing the feasibility of powering a rover with a micro wind turbine, considering weather and wind conditions of a specific location on the ice sheet. It includes a study of local conditions and derived functional requirements, a review of SWTs with arctic references compared against established selection criteria, and lastly, a short field test of a selected turbine on the ice sheet mounted at a very low hub height and the results thereof. While the study was preliminary, we demonstrate that harvesting wind energy at very low hub heights is possible on the Greenland ice sheet due to low turbulence: that maximum thrust must be considered for rover stability; and that one off-the-shelf SWT performs significantly below manufacturer specifications, in part attributed to cold temperature effects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmall Wind and Hydrokinetic Turbines
EditorsPhilip Clausen, Jonathan Whale, David Wood
Number of pages15
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9781839530715
ISBN (Electronic)9781839530722
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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