A story for research, enthusiasm and trust from business and the state to strategic judgment of scientists
The first group of the 27th Bulgarian Polar Expedition set off for Antarctica on November 9th. The group has the difficult task of preparing the Bulgarian base on Livingstone Island for the upcoming Antarctic season. This year the expedition has prepared an ambitious scientific program consisting of seven projects. It is supported by a state subsidy of 500 000 BGN and steadfast backing from Bulgarian business in the form of Monbat Economic Group.
For the second time, Monbat is providing low-temperature rechargeable batteries. These batteries make it possible to significantly reduce energy costs and protect the environment.
Margarita Koleva's report on Darik Radio revealed that the Bulgarian scientistswould study the geology and mineral resources of Antarctica, the glacier movement and climate change, and would explore the marine ecosystem.
“The ice continent has now become the world's largest open-air science laboratory. Scientists are looking for answers to global warming and are making discoveries that affect mankind as whole,” commented Professor Pimpirev, Head of Mission.
"Only 7 out of 30 projects have been approved. These are two biological projects related to the study of the marine ecosystem. Our scientists will be exploring the wealth of flora and fauna that the southern ocean has to offer, which in future could help to feed mankind. We are talking about an enormous mass of crustaceans that already feed many people. Our biologists will also study micro-organisms and extract enzymes which will enable new drugs to be developed. Recently, some experiments have been conducted with a very successful anti-cancer medicine,” Pimpirev pointed out. “Another group of scientists will explore the geology and mineral resources of this continent, the glacier movement and climate change. Polar studies are the future of mankind. They will solve many problems and will provide answers to dealing with natural disasters which we trigger ourselves through massive pollution,” Prof. Pimpirev said.
With the help of business donations, 4 wind turbines with rechargeable batteries will be built to reduce energy costs. The diesel generator will also be replaced, thus curbing environmental pollution. Thanks to Monbat's decision to once again provide rechargeable batteries, the outlook for the next 5-6 years is"secure", according to scientists leaving for Antarctica. The base has photovoltaic panels and the new batteries will cover 70-80% of energy needed on an average day. This is not only a contribution to the scientific base, but also to the entire scientific programme because when the energy problem is solved, all remaining financial resources can go exclusively towards pure science. This makes the support of business invaluable.
"In order to financially provide for all these programs, first and foremost, energy is needed for everything. Thanks to the installation of the batteries, which we received as sponsorship years ago, we have saved an average of 40-50% of the fuel consumption for each season. If this is estimated in tons of waste, carbon dioxide, it counts for a lot. We used to spend 5-6 tons of naphtha per year but now our costs have dropped to 2-3 tons. Solar panels are very easy to manage - you take the plate and carry it there and if there is sun - there is electricity. The battery is the heavy element in such a system and acts as a buffer. And we have batteries. Spaniards also have one field of solar panels, but they have fewer batteries. Other base camps, such as the Belgian, are working on the latest views of an energy-independent base. However it was built about 5-6 years ago, by a whole new technology. Here there are cottages from the 90s, containers from the 80s [U2] , the others were made in 2008-2010.
But in this regard, I would say, we are quite at the forefront with this method of energy extraction. And there is a wind generator, and solar collectors for hot water there. This year we will employ a heating one. All these things have been taken seriously."
Yordan Yordanov, Logistics Manager and Board Member of BAI, said that Monbat’s production, which will be installed this season, has been developed under advanced technological specifications for solar installations under such conditions. The team of scientists also concluded that the previous batteries had functioned very well for 10 years, remaining in good condition despite the unforgiving surroundings.
On 6 November the polar scientists were officially handed the Bulgarian flag by President Rumen Radev who assured them that they had the full support from the presidency - a tradition started by President Zhelyu Zhelev and followed by all subsequent presidents. “We can only be proud that Bulgaria and its scientists have demonstrated foresight and strategic thinking and today Bulgaria has its own base on Antarctica. Bulgaria has a reputation as one of the first pioneers of research on this continent and that is of invaluable importance to mankind,” said President Radev.