Remote research post at South Pole puts radiant heating elements to the maximum test

| by Monica Irgens
Remote research post at South Pole puts radiant heating elements to the maximum test

The National Science Foundation has awarded Major Research Infrastructure (MRI) funding to the IRIS/PASSCAL and UNAVCO Facilities for a proposal to design and build a reliable power and communication system for autonomous polar station operation. This development effort involves close collaboration with Antarctic seismologists and GPS scientists.

The system enclosure is buried as a buffer against extreme temperature swings, has high efficiency vacuum panel insulation, Iridium communications, active heating, and wind and solar power sources for year-round autonomous operation. Similar systems were installed in the Recovery Lakes region from the Norway-US IPY Traverse in January 2009.

The goals of this project are to use the latest power and communication technologies, linked with the collective experience and expertise of the science community and IRIS/UNAVCO staff to:

  1. Design, integrate, and test a scalable power and communication system optimized for ease of deployment and reliable multi-year operation in severe polar environments.
  2. Provide an initial pool of these systems for deployment and testing in science experiments.

Radiant heating elements supplied by STEP Warmfloor were used to provide reliable, even and consistent heat for the functionality of the equipment’s batteries.  The self-regulating heating elements are rugged and come in different heat outputs. Available in a range of sizes the elements can be cut to the required size.  They can be powered by solar or wind as well, making it ideal for the remote conditions of the South Pole.

Since this electroplastics technology self-regulates at the molecular level, resistance increases with increasing temperature providing even temperature.

For more information on the safety and efficiency of reliable electric radiant heating visit


Topics: Radiant Heat - Electrical & Hydronic

Companies: STEP Warmfloor

Monica Irgens

Monica is President of Electro Plastics, Inc., manufacturer of STEP Warmfloor® heating systems: a patented, low-voltage, self-regulating flat and thin heater. Monica has been in the radiant heating industry for over 20 years. She was member of the Radiant Panel Association for 15 years, served on the RPA Board of Directors as chairperson of the Electric Committee and the Green Committee. Monica is also a member of the USGBC and has been involved in the design of LEED registered buildings.

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